By the Numbers: Iowa field hockey

Iowa could not be doing much better heading into Big Ten play.


David Harmantas

Iowa field hockey players run onto the field before a game against Ball State on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cardinals 7–1.

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

The Iowa field-hockey team has had a tremendous start to its season — it sits at 5-1, with the only loss coming at the hands of No. 2 North Carolina in overtime in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Hawkeyes will play Penn on Friday before their first Big Ten match, against 2-4 Indiana on Sept. 16.

5-1 Record

After six matches last year, the Hawkeyes had a record of 2-4 with their only wins coming over Cal and Cal-Davis.

However, they have improved their record to 5-1 this season. Iowa beat Wake Forest — ranked six spots above them at the time — 2-1 in the season-opener.

Against No. 2 North Carolina, the Hawkeyes put themselves on the scoreboard first when sophomore Maddy Murphy scored in the 30th minute on a penalty corner. After holding the Tar Heels to a scoreless first half, North Carolina scored in the 62nd minute. The game went on into overtime, where the Tar Heels scored at 8:27 on a penalty stroke. The Hawkeyes have gone on to defeat Dartmouth, 6-0, Ball State, 7-1, Providence, 1-0, and New Hampshire, 2-0, in consecutive games.

Iowa has recorded three shutouts this season, which it wasn’t able to do until 17 games last season. The Hawkeyes have moved up in the rankings from No. 20 to No. 14.

19-4 Goal Differential

The Hawkeyes have outscored their opponents, 19-4, on the season. Iowa’s scoring average of 3.88 is tied with North Carolina for sixth in the NCAA.

Murphy leads the team in goals scored, getting her fifth last weekend. Iowa also tallied 17 assists against the opponents’ 2.

Junior captain Katie Birch has put up 5 of them, leading the team. Birch, along with Sophie Sunderland, has had a hat trick this season. Earning penalty corners is a key part of controlling a field-hockey match; goals often come on these scenarios, and the Hawkeyes have been awarded 41 compared with their opponents’ 18. Nine of Iowa’s goals have been on penalty corners.

.862 Save Percentage

Junior Leslie Speight, who had her first career start in goal this season, has played every minute of every game and has proven to be quite the barrier to opposing teams. She has only let 4 shots hit the back of the net.

Speight has a .862 save percentage this season. The mark is the fourth best in the NCAA behind Georgetown (.920), Rutgers (.913), and Longwood (.871). Speight has recorded 25 saves this season. Against North Carolina, she saved 9 shots, her season and career high in a single game.

Looking at the numbers, Iowa field hockey has dominated the competition so far this season, and it seems to be on the right track. The Hawkeyes will go for a fourth shutout on Grant Field at 2:30 p.m. Friday against 2-2 Penn.

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