Iowa field hockey falls to Wake Forest in first round of NCAA Tournament

The Hawkeyes bet Wake Forest in their season-opener, but couldn't do it again in the postseason.


David Harmantas

Iowa midfielder Ellie Holley fights for the ball during the Championship Game in the Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament at Lakeside Field in Evanston, IL on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2018. The No. 2 ranked Terrapins defeated the No. 8 ranked Hawkeyes, 2-1.

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

This season, the Hawkeyes started off strong with a 2-1 win over No. 14 Wake Forest. After a successful Big Ten Tournament in which Iowa finished as the runners-up, the Hawkeyes earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

They were placed in the number No. 4 Duke’s bracket where they were set to play the team they played in their season opener: Wake Forest. This time, however, the Deacons got the best of the Hawkeyes, 3-2, ending Iowa’s season.

The Hawkeyes were awarded the first and second penalty corners of the match, and on the second one 17 minutes in, sophomore Ellie Holley put one away for Iowa, assisted by junior Sophie Sunderland. Wake Forest was given the third penalty corner two minutes later, and it did not waste it. Deacon standout Jule Grashoff scored her 23rd goal of the season, tying up the game.

Five minutes before the halftime, Wake Forest’s Grace Sambrook’s shot hit the back of the cage, giving Wake Forest a 2-1 lead. This was the fourth time the Hawkeyes allowed their opponent to score back-to-back goals.

At the end of the half, Iowa and Wake Forest had both tallied 6 shots, but the Deacons had a better shot percentage and control going into the second half.

In the 63rd minute, Grashoff scored her second goal of the game, increasing her goal count to 24, and providing Wake Forest with some comfort. The Deacons would lead 3-1 until less than four minutes to go. Junior Isabela Solaroli finished a second Hawkeye goal, but it wouldn’t be enough. The Hawkeyes ended their season with the team they began it with, losing, 3-2.

The Hawkeyes outshot the Deacons, 13-9, and 5 of Iowa’s shots were taken by Holley. Iowa was provided 3 penalty corners, while Wake Forest got 1, but the Deacons find themselves a spot in a second-round game. Wake Forest will play Duke on Nov. 11 at 1:30 p.m. in Durham, North Carolina.

After losing to Wake Forest, Iowa will end its season with a record of 14-7. The 14 wins are the most it has tallied since 2011 when it snagged 15.

All seven of Iowa’s losses came from top-14 opponents and it only lost to one of these opponents – Northwestern – by more than 1 goal.

The longest losing streak the Hawkeyes went on this season was two when they lost to No. 12 Maryland and No. 13 Rutgers. After these two losses, Iowa was named the No. 6 seed in the Big Ten Tournament where it would upset two top-10 teams in Penn State and Michigan. This was the furthest any sixth-seeded team had ever gone in the tournament.

Although the Hawkeyes didn’t go as far in the NCAA Tournament as they had hoped, they have turned heads this season with a very young team. The squad boasted eight freshmen and only three seniors. Next season Iowa field hockey will return nine of its 11 starters, meaning 2019 could be another wild journey.

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