The ninth-ranked and fifth-seeded University of Iowa field hockey team opens postseason play Thursday, facing No. 6 ranked and fourth-seeded Michigan at 10 a.m. (CT) in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Big Ten Tournament. The tournament will be held at Buckeye Varsity Field in Columbus, Ohio.
• With a victory, the Hawkeyes will face top-seeded Penn State on Friday at 12:30 p.m.
• Thursday’s contest will be streamed live on BTN+.
• 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 is ranked ninth in the Week 9 Penn Monto/NFHCA Coaches’ poll on Nov. 1. The Hawkeyes have been in the top 10 in the polls for the duration of the season.
• Three Hawkeyes — Anthe Nijziel (first-team), Lokke Stribos (second-team) and Esme Gibson (second-team) earned All-Big Ten recognition for the 2022 season.
• Nijziel earned NFHCA Division I Defensive Player of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors for her play in Iowa’s 1-0 win against Michigan State on Oct. 28. It was Nijziel’s second Big Ten honor this season (seventh of her career) and her third career national honor.
• The Hawkeyes earned four Big Ten weekly honors during the regular season – Grace McGuire (Defensive, Sept. 26) and Alex Wesneski (Offensive, Sept. 26).
• The Hawkeyes are 5-6 against nationally ranked opponents in 2022, which includes a 2-0 victory over No. 1 Northwestern on Sept. 23 in Evanston. It was the second straight year Iowa has knocked off the No. 1 ranked team in the country.
• Iowa won its 10th game of the season with its 2-1 come-from-behind win over No. 17 James Madison on Oct. 9. It is the sixth straight year and the seventh time in head coach Lisa Cellucci’s tenure that Iowa has reached the 10-win mark.
• Iowa is outscoring its opponents, 38-17, this season.
• The Hawkeyes have posted six shutouts this season. Iowa didn’t allow a shot or penalty corner in a 2-0 win over No. 22 UMASS on Sept. 11.
• Iowa is fifth in the nation in goals against average (0.98), sixth in save percentage (.798) and ninth in shutouts per game (0.35). Senior goalkeeper Grace McGuire is fifth in the nation in goals against average (1.01) and 10th in save percentage (.790).
• Junior Alex Wesneski is tied for 23rd nationally with 11 goals, while sophomore Leive Schalk is 36th nationally in assists per game (0.53).
• 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 279 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 seven of her nine 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).
B1G TOURNAMENT HISTORY
The Hawkeyes are 35-22 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament. The 35 wins are the most among all Big Ten schools. Iowa is 5-8 all-time against Michigan in the tournament, including falling 3-2 in the semifinals last season and 2-0 in the semifinals of during the 2021 spring season.
3 HAWKEYES EARN ALL-BIG TEN HONORS
Fifth-years Anthe Nijziel and Lokke Stribos and senior Esme Gibson earned All-Big Ten recognition for the 2022 season. Nijziel earned her third straight first-team All-Big Ten honor (fourth career accolade), while Stribos and Gibson earned their second career All-Big Ten distinction.
NATIONAL & B1G POW
Senior Anthe Nijziel was tabbed as the NFHCA Division I Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 2 and the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 31 following her play in Iowa’s 1-0 win over Michigan State. Nijziel anchored an Iowa defense that allowed two shots (one on goal) en route to the Hawkeyes’ sixth shutout of the season.
THIRD TIME’S A CHARM
The Hawkeyes will face Michigan for a third time in a 2 1/2 week stretch on Thursday in Columbus. The Wolverines won 2-0 on Oct. 16 in Ann Arbor and 1-0 on Oct. 23 in a neutral site, nonconference matchup in Evanston, Ill.
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 are ranked ninth in the Week 9 Penn Monto/NFHCA National Division I rankings. The team has been ranked in 70 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.
PLAYING FROM AHEAD
The Hawkeyes are out-scoring their opponents 11-2 in the first quarter and 17-6 in the first half this season. Iowa has scored first in 12 of 17 games this season.
• Iowa has scored in the game’s first seven minutes in seven contests, including a strike just 43 seconds into its win over Providence College. The team has scored in the game’s first three minutes four times.
DOWN GOES NO. 1
Junior Alex Wesneski scored two first-half goals to lead Iowa to a 2-0 shutout victory over top-ranked Northwestern on Sept. 23. It is the second straight year the Hawkeyes have downed the No. 1 team in the nation.
• Prior to 2021, Iowa hadn’t defeated a No. 1 ranked team since 2008. The win snapped Northwestern’s 12-game winning streak dating back to last season.
ANNI & GAME WINNERS
Sophomore Annika Herbine has scored in seven of Iowa’s 17 games this season, giving her eight strikes — second-most on the team. Herbine has a team-best four game-winning goals (Wake Forest, Saint Louis, Providence, and Michigan State), which are tied for third in the Big Ten. Herbine leads the team with 23 points (8 G, 7 A).
• Herbine had her first career multi-goal game against Providence College on Sept. 9 — a 3-1 Hawkeye win.
Iowa has scored 18 goals on 90 penalty corner attempts for a 20 percent conversion success rate.
• The team has had five or more penalty corners in nine of its 17 games.
Four Hawkeye position players have played the duration this season and rarely leave the field — Lokke Stribos (16), Anthe Nijziel (15) Harper Dunne (12), midfielder Esme Gibson (3), Lokke Stribos (1) and Lieve Schalk (1).
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 eight of Iowa’s 17 games of the 2022 season as she leads the team with 11 goals, which are tied for fourth in the Big Ten. Wesneski’s 11 strikes have come on just 33 shots.
• The Pennsylvania native has three multi-goal games this season. She scored two goals in back-to-back wins over Boston and Saint Louis on Sept. 2 and Sept. 4 before scoring both goals in Iowa’s 2-0 road win at No. 1 Northwestern, which led to her being named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 26.
• Wesneski has four multi-goal games in her career.
• Her offensive outburst has nearly tripled her career scoring output. She had four goals entering the 2022 season.
Iowa has had five players post seven multi-goal games this season. Junior Alex Wesneski has three multi-goal games, while Anthe Nijziel, Esme Gibson, Annika Herbine and Ciara Smith have one multi-goal contest.
The Hawkeyes’ defense was superb during its season-long seven-game winning streak, posting four shutouts in the seven contests. Iowa allowed just three goals on 35 shots in the seven games with 20 being on goal. (Sixteen of those shots came against No. 1 Northwestern with Iowa leading 2-0).
• Iowa’s defense has given up five or fewer shots in 19 of the team’s last 37 games dating back to the 2021 season.
MCGUIRE IN GOAL
Fifth-year senior Grace McGuire has started 55 consecutive games in goal. The Missouri native has won 40 games, posted 23 shutouts and made 150 saves during her career. She has a 0.872 career goals against average.
• McGuire is 11-6 with a 1.012 goals against average with a career-high 64 saves and five shutouts in 2022. She tied her career-high 11 saves against No. 6 Michigan on Oct. 23 after previously posting 11 saves against No. 2 North Carolina on Aug. 28. McGuire has three games with 10 or more saves this season.
• McGuire has made 21 saves (10 in game one, 11 in game two) in two games against the Wolverines this season.
• McGuire has two wins over No. 1 ranked opponents in her career.
• 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 38 assists on its 38 goals in 17 games this season with 10 different players tallying at least one assist. Eight different Hawkeyes have at least two assists on the year. Iowa is 23rd in the nation in assists, averaging 2.24 per game.
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.
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 70 games.
• Fifth-year seniors Anthe Nijziel and Lokke Stribos have started all 98 games of their Hawkeye careers. Three additional Hawkeyes — Sofie Stribos, Harper Dunne and Grace McGuire– have started 55 or more consecutive games.
Anthe Nijziel – 98
Lokke Stribos – 98
Sofie Stribos – 57
Harper Dunne – 55
Grace McGuire – 55
Leive Schalk – 37
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.
• The Wolverines are 11-5 overall and finished fourth in the Big Ten regular season standings with a 5-3 record.
• Michigan’s five losses came against top-six ranked opponents — No. 2 North Carolina, No. 5 Louisville, No. 6 Penn State, No. 3 Maryland and No. 3 Northwestern.
• The Wolverines have scored 45 goals in 16 games with Lora Clarke leading the way with 11 goals and Abby Tamer recording nine goals.
• In two games this season, Michigan has out-shot Iowa, 40-7, with 25 shots on goal.
• Iowa leads the all-time series over Michigan, 44-31.
• Michigan is 5-4 against the Hawkeyes in the last five meetings, including winning three straight. Iowa’s last win came via a shootout in 2021 by the score of 2-1.
The 2022 NCAA Selection Show will take place on Sunday at 9 p.m. (CT).