Birch’s Hat Trick and Save Ends Tug of War With Hoosiers

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Birch’s Hat Trick and Save Ends Tug of War With Hoosiers

Iowa's Katie Birch passes the ball during a match against the University of Indiana field hockey team on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Iowa won the match 4-3. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's Katie Birch passes the ball during a match against the University of Indiana field hockey team on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Iowa won the match 4-3. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

David Harmantas

Iowa's Katie Birch passes the ball during a match against the University of Indiana field hockey team on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Iowa won the match 4-3. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

David Harmantas

David Harmantas

Iowa's Katie Birch passes the ball during a match against the University of Indiana field hockey team on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Iowa won the match 4-3. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

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After a long back-and-forth game, Iowa is victorious over Indiana, 4-3.

By Taylor McNitt

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Iowa field hockey took on Indiana in an unforgettable match on Sept. 29.

After the Hawkeyes scored the first goal, the Hoosiers answered. Then Iowa answered right back. After Indiana scored yet again, the tug of war ended with a save by sophomore Katie Birch in the 70th minute and a Hawkeye victory with a final score of 4-3.

“There’s a lot of resiliency in our Iowa field hockey team,” Birch said. “I think our whole program, we have a lot of grit in it, we have a lot of challenge that we bring out in each other and that we want opponents to bring out in us so we can keep getting better. I think it was really good of Indiana to keep coming back at us.”

Indiana did keep coming back, putting Iowa’s grit and ability to play the full 70 minutes to the test. 

After freshman Mya Christopher tipped in Birch’s shot in the 13th minute, Indiana responded with a goal in the 21st minute.

14 minutes later, as the halftime buzzer sounded, Iowa was awarded a penalty corner that Birch put in the back of the net, making the score 2-1 going into the second half.

Iowa’s lead didn’t last long, however.

RELATED: Tug of war with the Hoosiers ends in Iowa victory

After Iowa’s near miss in the 39th minute, Indiana took the game to the other end of the field to tie up the game in the 42nd minute.

Seven minutes later, after a penalty corner that was turned into a penalty stroke, Birch scored Iowa’s third goal to take the lead again. 

In the 56th minute, a call that switched possession set the Indiana and the ball between Iowa’s defense and the Iowa goal, and Indiana took advantage of that to tie the game for a third time. 

Iowa didn’t stand for this, however – three minutes later, Birch scored the third goal of her hat trick off of a penalty corner, making for the final score of 4-3.

Iowa almost lost this several times; a near miss by Indiana in the 69th minute set Iowa on edge, and then a penalty corner awarded in the 70th minute could have tied the game and sent the teams into overtime, but Birch’s save prevented that possibility and secured Iowa’s victory.

“I liked the end result the most, actually,” said head coach Lisa Cellucci following the game. “It was a tough game to play; Indiana had a lot of grit and just kept countering after every goal that we would score. I had really hoped that we would be able to keep that a little simpler than we did, but we got the result, and that was the most important thing today.” 

The players faced slick conditions and rough play, so that added to the difficulty of coming out with a win.

Cellucci attributed the difficulty more to not following the game plan, however.

“When we kept possession and really kept attacking them on the outside, that was when we were most successful. That was our game plan,” she said. “When we deferred from that, they were able to counter. So the message to our team was just stick to the plan.”

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