Hawkeye field hockey downs Michigan, earns championship berth

Iowa topped Michigan to earn a date with Maryland in the Big Ten Tournament Championship.

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Hawkeye field hockey downs Michigan, earns championship berth

Iowa midfielder Makenna Grewe celebrates with her team after the Semifinals in the Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament at Lakeside Field in Evanston, IL on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. The no. 8 ranked Hawkeyes defeated the no. 7 ranked Wolverines 2-1. Iowa will play no. 2 ranked Maryland for the championship on Sunday. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa midfielder Makenna Grewe celebrates with her team after the Semifinals in the Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament at Lakeside Field in Evanston, IL on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. The no. 8 ranked Hawkeyes defeated the no. 7 ranked Wolverines 2-1. Iowa will play no. 2 ranked Maryland for the championship on Sunday. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

David Harmantas

Iowa midfielder Makenna Grewe celebrates with her team after the Semifinals in the Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament at Lakeside Field in Evanston, IL on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. The no. 8 ranked Hawkeyes defeated the no. 7 ranked Wolverines 2-1. Iowa will play no. 2 ranked Maryland for the championship on Sunday. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

David Harmantas

David Harmantas

Iowa midfielder Makenna Grewe celebrates with her team after the Semifinals in the Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament at Lakeside Field in Evanston, IL on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. The no. 8 ranked Hawkeyes defeated the no. 7 ranked Wolverines 2-1. Iowa will play no. 2 ranked Maryland for the championship on Sunday. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

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The Iowa field-hockey team continued to excel in its postseason play, registering its second upset in the Big Ten Tournament. The sixth-seeded Hawkeyes defeated second-seeded Michigan in the semifinals on Nov. 2, 2-1.

“I am so proud of every single player on this team,” sophomore Ellie Holley said. “The grit that we showed for 70 minutes, the defense, the offense, and just the composure that every person had on that ball — this was a team game, and we really showed Michigan who we are.”

Sophomore Mya Christopher recorded the only Hawkeye goal against Michigan in their regular-season loss on Oct. 5. 

Christopher scored an unassisted second goal against the Wolverines only seven minutes into the semifinal match, which put Iowa up 1-0 going into halftime. The Iowa defense only allowed Michigan 1 penalty corner and 1 shot in the first period.

The Hawkeyes maintained the momentum going into the second half, and senior Makenna Grewe scored a second goal around eight minutes in, assisted by junior Katie Birch. Iowa was up by 2 for only six minutes before Wolverine Emma Way scored her 18th goal of the season, cutting the Hawkeye lead to 2-1.

Michigan wasn’t going to give the Hawkeyes this one easily. In the final 40 seconds, Michigan registered 4-consecutive penalty corners, but Iowa defense and junior goalkeeper Leslie Speight held on and prevented the Wolverines from scoring the equalizer.

Iowa outshot Michigan, 13-4, and improved its record to 14-5. The Hawkeyes earned a spot in the Big Ten Championship with the victory.

“I’m proud of [the team’s] resilience throughout the entire course of the game — such grit on the defensive end,” head coach Lisa Cellucci said. “We stuck to the game plan. We wanted to get off to a fast start, we did that, and I think that put Michigan on their heels. We just continued to put them under pressure. They had their runs, but we held tight.”

The Hawkeyes were last in the Big Ten Tournament Championship in 2013; the last time they won the tourney was 10 years ago.

“Survive and advance,” Cellucci said. “This group of Hawks haven’t had a chance to play for a championship, and now they do. I couldn’t be prouder. We’ve been getting better and better every week of the season. We’re excited to go back to work and get ready to play on [Nov. 4].”

On the other side of the Big Ten Tournament bracket, top-seeded Maryland defeated Ohio State, 9-1. 

The Hawkeyes will play the Terrapins in the championship match in Evanston, Illinois. Earlier this season, the Terrapins defeated the Hawkeyes, 2-1, at Grant Field. The Hawkeyes will play for a third upset in postseason play.

“I’m so excited,” Birch said. “We’re an amazing team — such a young team to be going to the final. We’re just excited to bring it to them, to play our hearts out, and to try to win a ring.”

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