Hawkeye field hockey prepares for last regular season match

The No. 7 Iowa field hockey looks to stay above .500 in conference play.


David Harmantas

Iowa forward Maddy Murphy chases the ball to the sideline during a field hockey match against Maryland on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. The no. 2 ranked Terrapins defeated the no. 8 ranked Hawkeyes 2-1.

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

The end of the field-hockey season is coming up quickly for Iowa; it will travel to New Jersey to take on Rutgers in its regular-season finale.

Last weekend, the Hawkeyes lost to No. 2 Maryland, 2-1, after upsetting No. 6 Penn State, 3-2.

“We were pretty unfortunate against Maryland,” sophomore Maddy Murphy said. “We didn’t execute very well in the circle, our attacking corners were not so good, which is usually one of our stronger assets, so we’re going to focus on putting the ball in the net and that short corner execution.”

Iowa is tied with Michigan for the seventh spot in the Penn Monto/Coaches poll and will play its final regular-season match against a No. 13 Scarlet Knights squad.

RELATED: Hawkeye field hockey chugs on despite no Iowa high school play

Rutgers is 11-4 with a 4-3 conference record. It holds the sixth spot in the Big Ten; Iowa is currently fourth. So a lot rides on today’s game, given that the top four teams in the conference host first-round games in the Big Ten Tournament — a win for the Hawkeyes would secure another match on Grant Field.

“It’s so important that we come out on Friday and play to our standard, because we want to host the first round of the Big Ten,” junior Sophie Sunderland said. “That would give us a better chance of achieving our goals later on in the season.”

Rutgers won’t go down without a fight. The Knights are on a three-game winning streak with a victory over No.14 Northwestern last weekend.

Along with the Wildcats, Rutgers has defeated three other top-20 opponents: No. 19 Delaware, No. 18 St. Joseph’s, and No. 6 Princeton.

The Knights have four players who have scored at least 6 goals, led by sophomore Daphne Groothuis, who has netted 11 goals and provided 12 assists, tallying 34 points — the second most in the Big Ten. Rutgers sophomore goalkeeper Gianna Glatz has 62 saves, the second most in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes are 6-2-1 all time against Rutgers.

“Rutgers is really solid on both sides of the ball,” Iowa head coach Lisa Cellucci said. “They play great team defense, really good goalkeeping, and their penalty corners are very dangerous. They score a lot of goals on them.”

The Hawkeyes are 5-4 against top-25 opponents and have a record of 3-2 away from home. Six Hawkeyes have scored at least 3 goals this season, and 11 Hawkeyes have scored at least once.

Murphy leads the Hawkeyes in goals with 13, second most in the Big Ten. Murphy has also scored a conference-leading 4 game-winning goals.

Iowa’s defense has also shone this season; it holds the Big Ten-best .85 goals allowed per game. That average is fourth-best nationally.

“For us, we have to [get] better on the attacking side, especially inside the 25,” Cellucci said. “Our attack free hits are really stagnant right now, and that hurt us against Maryland. And then [we need to focus on] first pass priority of keeping possession in the midfield so we can continue to build the ball.”

Facebook Comments