Field hockey knows the score


The Daily Iowan

Iowa defender Chandler Ackers hits the ball at Grant Field on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. The Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Flashes 7-1. (The Daily Iowan/Valerie Burke)

The Iowa field-hockey team will compete in its last road game of the season.
By Mario Williams

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The Iowa field-hockey team will head to Penn State trying to make much-needed improvements.

The squads are tied in the conference, and it’ll be a fight, to say the least.

The Hawks are sixth in the conference, tied with Penn State, after a tough loss to Ohio State, 3-1, at Grant Field. The Hawkeyes took their largest number of shots, 22, against a Big Ten opponent but connected only once.

Despite the circumstances, the team is now ready for another Big Ten challenge.

“We clearly dominated statistically but just couldn’t finish,” Iowa head coach Lisa Cellucci said. “We still have a very good opportunity in front of us.”

It was supposed to be their game, but with the lack of depth, the Hawks weren’t able to execute, which fans have seen all season.

Cellucci said the team became fatigued and outplayed when they tried to press the Buckeyes.

“Again, due to our depth, it’s the same story over and over,” the second-year head coach said. “We just weren’t able to find a way to put the ball in the net.”

Heading into this weekend’s matchup, Cellucci wants the Hawkeyes to make stronger finishes and put more goals on the board.

To accomplish that, Cellucci believes the team needs to improve on its speed and different looks.

“We really need to make these goalkeepers work that we’re playing against,” she said.

One Hawk in particular has made life difficult for opponents; sophomore Veronique Declercq ranks third in the Big Ten with 68 shots. She believes that if the Hawkeyes continue to shoot, they will eventually score more goals.

“You have to keep going and trying,” she said. “Eventually, it will work, so we’ll keep working on that. We practice that every day, so it’ll get better.”

Iowa averages 15.69 shots per game, fourth in the conference. The Nittany Lions average 16.93, third in the Big Ten.

Scoring goals has been a struggle for the Hawkeyes, but junior Chandler Ackers hopes that changes this weekend. She said the problem thus far has been positioning and having athletes in the right spot at the right time.

“We need to fill the scoring positions,” Ackers said. “Right now we’re just not having someone to put the ball in the goal.”

In addition to the shooting, the junior wasn’t all that satisfied with the defense against Ohio State. Before competing against the Buckeyes, the Hawks held Michigan State scoreless and without a shot for 57 minutes. She also believes that was the type of game Iowa should play the rest of the season.

“Now that we know we have that in us, we need to keep holding that standard,” she said. “We need to make sure we bring that every day in practice and games. We need to make sure that we come out with the same intensity and energy and shut them down early.”

Follow @marioxwilliams on Twitter for Iowa field-hockey news, updates, and analysis.

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