The fifth-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team hits the road for the first time since Week 1 for a pair of weekend contests. The Hawkeyes open play against No. 1 Northwestern on Friday at 3 p.m. (CT) at Lakeside Field in Evanston, Ill. Iowa then travels to Muncie, Indiana, for a Sunday contest against Ball State. Sunday’s game will begin at 11 a.m. (CT) at the Briner Sports Complex.
• Friday’s game will be televised live on BTN with Dean Linke and Kara Lentz on the call. There will be no streaming available for Sunday’s contest.
• Iowa field hockey fans can follow all contests via live stats on hawkeyesports.com. Game updates are also available on Twitter/@iowafieldhockey.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Iowa remained at No. 5 in the Week 3 Penn Monto/NFHCA Coaches’ poll on Sept. 20 following their Big Ten-opening win over Indiana.
• The Hawkeyes are outscoring their opposition, 25-5, this season, which includes a 16-2 advantage during the current five-game winning streak.
• Iowa has posted three shutouts in its last five games. The Hawkeyes have allowed 18 shots (10 shots on goal) in their last five games. Iowa didn’t allow a shot or penalty corner in a 2-0 win over No. 22 UMASS on Sept. 11.
• Iowa is leading the nation in assists per game (3.86) and goals against average (0.82), while also ranking fifth in points per game (10.71), sixth in shutouts per game (0.43), seventh in scoring margin (2.47) and eighth in scoring average (3.29) and winning percentage (.857).
• Junior Alex Wesneski is fourth nationally in goals per game (1.00), sophomore Annika Herbine is fifth in points per game (2.57) and seventh in assists per game (0.86) and senior Grace McGuire is sixth in goals against average (0.88).
• The Hawkeyes are second in the Big Ten in points (75), tied for second in goals (24) and tied for first in assists (27). Iowa has allowed six goals, tied for fewest in the league. Wesneski is third in the Big Ten in goals (7) and Herbine is tied for fourth (6). Herbine is second in the conference in both game-winning goals (3) and assists (6), while ranking third in points (18).
• The Hawkeyes are 2-1 this season against ranked foes with wins over No. 20 Wake Forest and No. 22 UMASS. Iowa’s lone loss came against No. 2 North Carolina when the Tar Heels rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in overtime.
• The Hawkeyes return eight starters and 18 letterwinners from a team that finished 17-3, claimed an outright Big Ten title and advanced to the Elite Eight for the 19th time in program history in 2021.
• Head coach Lisa Cellucci is in her ninth season at the helm of the Hawkeye field hockey program and her 23rd season overall. Cellucci has been a part of 274 Iowa victories and in 2020, she led the program to the Final Four for the 12th time — the first since 2008. Iowa has posted double digit win totals in six of her eight seasons. The Hawkeyes have won three Big Ten titles (2019, 2019 (BTT), 2021) under her watch.
• Cellucci earned her third straight Big Ten Coach of the Year honor in 2021. She is the first coach in Big Ten history to be named Coach of the Year in three consecutive seasons.
• Iowa returns two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Anthe Nijziel. The defender is the third player in Big Ten history to earn multiple Player of the Year honors.
• Iowa welcomes back three All-Americans (Nijziel, Grace McGuire and Esme Gibson), four NFHCA All-Region honorees (Nijziel, McGuire, Gibson, Lokke Stribos) and four All-Big Ten selections (Nijziel, McGuire, Stribos, Gibson).
CELLUCCI REACHES MILESTONE
Head coach Lisa Cellucci — the three-time reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year — earned her 100th career victory on Aug. 26 when the Hawkeyes downed No. 20 Wake Forest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The ninth year head coach is the fourth Hawkeye head coach to reach this 100-win milestone.
IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
The Hawkeyes remained at No. 5 in the Week 3 Penn Monto/NFHCA National Division I rankings. Iowa has been ranked fifth in three of the first four polls. The team has been ranked in 65 consecutive polls dating back to the 2016 season.
• Last season, Iowa finished the year ranked third after being ranked No. 1 for six straight weeks heading into the postseason. The team made its debut at No. 1 on Sept. 28, marking the first time in program history the team had been atop the NFHCA poll.
TAKING ON NO. 1
The Hawkeyes are facing the No. 1 team in the nation for the 11th time since 2007 on Friday in Evanston. It is just the second time that the opponent is not North Carolina (No. 1 Maryland, 2008).
• Iowa’s most recent meeting against the No. 1 team in the land came last season when the Hawkeyes downed No. 1 North Carolina, 3-1, in Iowa City.
The Hawkeyes have drawn 19 penalty corners in the last two games, including a season-high 10 in the 5-1 victory over Indiana on Sept. 16. Four of Iowa’s five goals against the Hoosiers were scored off penalty corners.
• Iowa has scored 11 goals on 38 penalty corner attempts for a 28.9 conversion success rate.
• The team has had five or more penalty corners in four of its seven games.
The Hawkeyes held No. 22 UMASS without a shot or penalty corner in Iowa’s 2-0 victory on Sept. 11. It was the first time since the 2021 spring season against Michigan State that Iowa’s defense completely shut down the opposition.
Junior Alex Wesneski has scored in five of Iowa’s first seven games of the 2022 season as she leads the team with seven goals. The seven strikes are third-most in the Big Ten and tied for the fourth-most nationally.
• Wesneski posted back-to-back multi-goal games in wins over Boston and Saint Louis on Sept. 2 and Sept. 4. The multi-goal game was the third of Wesneski’s career (vs. Maryland, spring 2021). She is the first Hawkeye since Maddy Murphy to have back-to-back multi-goal games in the spring of 2021.
• Wesneski’s offensive outburst has nearly doubled her career scoring output. The Pennsylvania native had four goals entering the 2022 season.
ANNI & GAME WINNERS
Sophomore Annika Herbine has scored in five of Iowa’s seven games this season, giving her six strikes — second-most on the team and tied for fourth in the Big Ten, Herbine has a team-best three game-winning goals (Wake Forest, Saint Louis and Providence), which are tied for the second in the Big Ten.
• Herbine had her first career multi-goal game against Providence College on Sept. 9 — a 3-1 Hawkeye win.
• Herbine is also Iowa’s top assister, as she has six assists, which are second-most in the Big Ten.
FIVE IS BETTER
The Hawkeyes had five different players score in their 5-1 Big Ten opening win over Indiana on Sept. 16 — the most in a game this season. Lokke Stribos, Esme Gibson and Laura Drees scored their first goals of the season; Drees’ strike was the first of her career.
The Hawkeyes’ defense has been superb during its home stand, posting three shutouts in the five contests. Iowa has allowed just two goals on 18 shots in the five games with 10 being on goal.
• Iowa’s defense has given up five or fewer shots in 15 of the team’s last 27 games dating back to the 2021 season.
CIARA X 2
Senior Ciara Smith scored her first two goals of the season in Iowa’s 6-0 shutout win of Saint Louis on Sept. 4 at Grant Field. The Virginia native had a team-high 10 goals in 2021.
• It was Smith’s first career multi-goal game in the regular season. She scored twice last season in the NCAA Tournament win over American and two times in 2019 in the Sweet 16 win over Duke.
MCGUIRE IN GOAL
Fifth-year senior Grace McGuire has started 45 consecutive games for the Hawkeyes in goal. The Missouri native has won 36 games, posted 20 shutouts and made 107 saves during her career. She has a 0.82 career goals against average.
• McGuire is 6-1 with a 0.88 goals against average with 21 saves and two shutouts in 2022. She made a career-high 11 saves against No. 2 North Carolina on Aug. 28.
• Last season McGuire made 46 saves in 20 games with an NCAA-best 11 shutouts. She had a program-record eight consecutive shutouts from Sept. 4-26.
• McGuire went 17-3 with a 0.75 goals against average and a 0.754 save percentage. She led the Big Ten and ranked second nationally in goals against average.
• The reigning All-American didn’t allow a goal in 561:03 minutes from the second quarter against No. 1 North Carolina on Aug. 29, 2021, to the fourth quarter of the Oct. 1 game at No. 6 Rutgers.
HELPING THE CAUSE
Iowa has 27 assists on its 24 goals in seven games this season with 10 different players tallying at least one assists. Eight different Hawkeyes have at least two assists on the year. Iowa is leading the nation in assists, averaging 3.86 per game.
B1G PLAYERS TO WATCH
Three Hawkeyes — fifth-year seniors Anthe Nijziel and Lokke Stribos and senior Esme Gibson — have been named to the Big Ten Preseason Players to Watch List. It is the third straight season Nijziel and Stribos have been included on the list.
Iowa’s team captains for the 2022 season are seniors Anthe Nijziel, Leah Zellner and Esme Gibson and junior Ellie Flynn.
DEFENDING BIG TEN CHAMPS
The Hawkeyes claimed the outright Big Ten regular season title for the first time since 1999 during the 2021 season. It was the program’s second regular season title in three years and the 16th in program history.
THE B1G BEST RETURNS… AGAIN
Senior Anthe Nijziel added to her trophy collection in 2021 as the defender was named the NFHCA West Region Player of the Year, Big Ten Co-Player of the Year and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. It was her second straight year earning both Big Ten honors. She was also a NFHCA first-team All-American, and NFHCA first-team All-West Region and a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection.
• Nijziel was the third player and fourth Hawkeye to earn the NFHCA Regional Player of the Year accolade, joining Natalie Cafone (2014, 2016) and Katie Birch (2019).
• She was the third player in Big Ten history and third Hawkeye all-time to earn the Big Ten Player of the Year honor more than once, joining Liz Tchou (1986, 1987) and Kristy Gleason (1992, 1993).
• Nijziel was the second Hawkeye and eighth Big Ten student-athlete to earn multiple Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE D
The Hawkeyes return three defenders — Anthe Nijziel, Harper Dunne and Lokke Stribos — and goalkeeper Grace McGuire from a defense that led the NCAA with 11 shutouts in 2021 — the most for the program since 1993 when it had 16 shutouts.
• The unit posted a program record eight consecutive shutouts from Sept. 4-26 where it surrendered just 12 shots on goal in the eight games.
The Hawkeyes return nine different players that scored at least one goal during the 2021 season, including leading goal scorer Ciara Smith. The Virginia native had a team-high 10 goals while playing primarily as a reserve forward a season ago.
• Iowa’s offense was prolific, scoring 66 goals in 20 games to tie for fourth nationally. The Hawkeyes scored three or more goals in 12 of their 20 games.
The Hawkeyes finished the 2021 season with a 7-0 record away from Iowa City with victories at No. 5 Louisville, No. 6 Rutgers and No. 7 Maryland. The seven road wins were the most since 1999.
• Iowa has won eight consecutive road games dating back to the 2021 season.
Four Hawkeyes — Olivia Frazier, Annika Herbine, Jacey Wittel and Mia Magnotta — earned invitations to USA Field Hockey’s 2023 U-21 and Development Squad Selection Camp. The camp will take place in December 2022 or Jan. 2023.
For a second straight year, the Hawkeyes boast a roster with 14 upperclassmen, including seven fifth-year seniors, three seniors and four juniors. Over the past four seasons, Iowa’s fifth-year seniors have won 65 games.
• Fifth-year seniors Anthe Nijziel and Lokke Stribos have started all 88 games of their Hawkeye careers. Three additional Hawkeyes — Sofie Stribos, Harper Dunne and Grace McGuire– have started 45 or more consecutive games.
Anthe Nijziel – 88
Lokke Stribos – 88
Sofie Stribos – 47
Harper Dunne – 45
Grace McGuire – 45
Leive Schalk – 27
A STORIED HISTORY
• The Hawkeyes have made 27 NCAA Tournament appearances in program history — the most of any school as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
• Iowa has made 12 NCAA Final Four appearances, including winning the 1986 NCAA Championship.
• The program’s 28 NCAA Tournament victories and 12 NCAA Final Fours are the most of any school as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
• Northwestern, who is ranked No. 1 in the NFHCA national poll, has an 8-0 record this season with seven wins over nationally ranked opponents. The Wildcats have shut out three of those foes — No. 18 Duke (2-0), No. 14 Boston College (6-0) and No. 11 Liberty (3-0).
• The Wildcats are tied for fifth nationally with 29 goals, while just surrendering eight. Bente Baekers leads the nation with 13 goals, including a four goal game against No. 22 Maine. She also has the second most assists on the team with five.
SCOUTING BALL STATE
• Ball State enters the weekend with a 4-2 overall record, winning its last two games over Saint Louis (2-1) and Longwood (3-2). The Cardinals lost 5-0 at Indiana on Sept. 9.
• The Cardinals have allowed 15 goals this season, while scoring 12. Fleur Knopert leads the team with four goals and three assists.
• Iowa leads the all-time series over Northwestern 56-29-6. The Wildcats have won four of the last five meetings in the series, including by the scores of 2-1 and 1-0 last season in Iowa City.
• The Hawkeyes defeated Northwestern, 3-1, in 2020 to advance to the Final Four.
• Iowa leads the all-time series over Ball State, 25-2. The Hawkeyes have won 11 straight over the Cardinals in the all-time series, including a 7-1 win in the most recent meeting in 2018.
Iowa will return home Sept. 30, hosting No. 3 Maryland at 4 p.m. (CT) at Grant Field.