No. 20 field hockey seeks winning track

The+Iowa+team+runs+out+of+the+goal+for+a+penalty+corner+at+Grant+Field+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+12%2C+2015.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Golden+Flashes+7-1.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FValerie+Burke%29
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No. 20 field hockey seeks winning track

The Iowa team runs out of the goal for a penalty corner at Grant Field on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. The Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Flashes 7-1. (The Daily Iowan/Valerie Burke)

The Iowa team runs out of the goal for a penalty corner at Grant Field on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. The Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Flashes 7-1. (The Daily Iowan/Valerie Burke)

The Daily Iowan

The Iowa team runs out of the goal for a penalty corner at Grant Field on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. The Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Flashes 7-1. (The Daily Iowan/Valerie Burke)

The Daily Iowan

The Daily Iowan

The Iowa team runs out of the goal for a penalty corner at Grant Field on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. The Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Flashes 7-1. (The Daily Iowan/Valerie Burke)

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Iowa will face No. 16 Michigan in the team’s fourth conference match of the season.
By Mario Williams

[email protected]

The Iowa field-hockey team will head to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where it will take on No. 16 Michigan, hoping to win its first Big Ten game in two weeks.

The Hawkeyes now sit at 7-5 overall, 1-2 in the conference. The team took a beating in its last game, a 4-0 loss to No. 14 Northwestern on Oct. 2. Aside from hoping to come on top with a victory, the Hawks need to pick up some wins so they can play in the conference tournament.

Things really aren’t going to get easier; the Hawkeyes must stop a good Wolverine team that has started off conference play with a 3-1 record.

“We’re prepared to work hard in practice this week and try to focus on Michigan,” junior Stephanie Norlander said.

Michigan might not be the best, statistically speaking, but it has shown it knows how to execute and come on top, something Iowa has struggled with this season.

The Wolverines are second in the conference, while Iowa is sixth. Michigan averages 14.08 shots, 2.42 goals, and 2 assists a game. The Hawks average 15.25 shots, 3.17 goals, and 3.50 assists per contest.

While Iowa’s numbers are a bit higher, head coach Lisa Cellucci doesn’t want to take that for granted — especially considering Michigan’s conference play so far.

The second-year head coach noted that the Wolverines have been a hard team to compete against for the last few years. She classified their game plan as very outstretched and simple.

They give teams a lot of problems,” Cellucci said. “They’re a very good team. They don’t generate a ton of attack, but they execute on their set pieces.”

Iowa’s offense will be paramount against a defensive unit such as Michigan’s; the Wolverines have only allowed opponents to score 12 goals this season.

Last weekend in Evanston, the Hawks struggled to get anything on board as far as shots and goals, and that’s something they wouldn’t want to run into this weekend. The Hawks only took 9 shots.

Putting emphasis on scoring and attempting to make shots will be key for the squad.

“We need to generate more shots on goal and definitely upgrade our situations a little more,” junior Chandler Ackers said.

While Ackers has thoughts on the offensive side, Cellucci is also focused on defending a powerhouse such as Michigan. She hopes to switch up the structure on the field so that the squad attacks and defends differently from what it has done early this season.

The Michigan players are savvy, and they don’t let their defenders get much. They’ve taken 169 shots this season and have also earned 74 penalty corners, while they’ve allowed their opponents to earn 59.

“Our ability to be able to defend them is going to be key,” Cellucci said.

Follow @Marioxwilliams for Iowa field-hockey news, updates, and analysis.

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