Hawkeye field hockey set to face second-seeded Wolverines in Big Ten semifinals

No. 8 Iowa attempts to switch result in match against No. 7 Michigan for a spot in the Big Ten Tournament finals.

Iowa+forward+Maddy+Murphy+chases+the+ball+to+the+sideline+during+a+field+hockey+match+against+Maryland+on+Sunday%2C+Oct.+14%2C+2018.+The+no.+2+ranked+Terrapins+defeated+the+no.+8+ranked+Hawkeyes+2-1.+%28David+Harmantas%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29
Back to Article
Back to Article

Hawkeye field hockey set to face second-seeded Wolverines in Big Ten semifinals

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. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

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. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

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. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

David Harmantas

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. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






After a second upset of third-seeded Penn State, the Iowa field-hockey team has proven that it can compete with the top teams in the conference.

“We beat Penn State at home, we beat Penn State away,” sophomore Ellie Holley said. “Penn State is a brilliant team. So we proved to ourselves that we can actually take on these big teams. Going into the semifinals of the Big Ten, we needed the confidence. I think right now that’s what we have.”

The Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions, 3-2, in an exciting overtime match that hinged on the play of freshman Anthe Nijziel. Nijzel assisted Holley and junior Sophie Sunderland on the first 2 goals for Iowa before scoring the game-winner herself.

“It felt really great,” Nijziel said. “It was a big game for our team. I started crying. We’ve worked so hard for this moment, and then to beat [Penn State] twice is just amazing.”

Sixth-seeded Iowa earned a spot in the Big Ten semifinals against second-seeded Michigan. The teams will play today at 2:30 p.m. in Evanston, Illinois.

Michigan was a co-Big Ten regular-season champion, finishing 7-1 with its only loss coming against top-seeded Maryland. The Wolverines are on a four-game winning streak; they defeated seventh-seeded Northwestern, 3-1, in their quarterfinal match.

“Michigan is skilled in all three lines,” Iowa head coach Lisa Cellucci said. “They bring unbelievable pressure, especially in their midfield, so our outletting has to be on point. We have to be able to move the ball really well and keep a high level of possession.”

Iowa leads the Big Ten with 7 shutouts. Goalkeeper Leslie Speight’s save percentage of .764 is the second best in the conference and 11th best in the nation. The Hawkeyes have allowed 0.91 goals per game on average, the best in the conference and fourth in the nation.

RELATED: Hawkeye field hockey victorious in Big Ten quarterfinal

Three Hawkeyes have been awarded Big Ten honors. Maddy Murphy earned first-team honors after quite an impressive sophomore regular season. She recorded her first career hat trick, had two stretches when she scored a goal in three-straight games, and scored 4 game-winning goals.

Key midfielders Katie Birch and Sunderland were named second-team All-Big Ten selections. Birch has registered the most assists (9) for the Hawkeyes and has scored 7 goals, and her 23 points are second on the team. Sunderland has also scored 7 goals and provided 4 assists, tallying 18 points, third for the Hawkeyes.

Earlier this season, Michigan handed Iowa its first home loss of the year. Despite outshooting the Wolverines, 13-7, the Hawkeyes lost, 2-1. The match was played nearly a month ago, and there have been a lot of practices and games since.

“I think a lot of parts of our game have improved, mostly our attacking third and our penalty-corner defense,” Cellucci said. “We’re looking forward to getting [Michigan] a second time, because we felt like we let that game slip away.”

If the Hawkeyes win today, they will face either top-seeded Maryland or fourth-seeded Ohio State in the Big Ten final on Nov. 4 in Evanston.