Iowa field hockey comes off competitive weekend to neutral match

Iowa Hawkeyes prepare for match against Kent State in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa forward Leah Zellner tries to shield the ball from two Duke players during a field hockey game at Grant Field on Sunday, September 15, 2019. The Hawkeyes were defeated by the Blue Devils, 2-1 after two overtime periods.

Jahlynn Hancock, Sports Reporter

No. 8 Iowa field hockey continues the nonconference portion of its season as they prepare for their next matchup against Kent State in Ann Arbor, Michigan, this weekend. 

Iowa is 4-2 following their last weekend series in Iowa City against California and No. 2 Duke. The Hawkeyes managed to capture a 4-2 win against the Bears, thanks to scorers Katie Birch, Nikki Freeman, and Sophie Sunderland. 

“We take our playing styles and apply it to the game,” Sunderland said. “We have to keep those intact and keep pushing forward.” 

The Hawkeyes fell to Duke on Sunday in a second-overtime 2-1 defeat. Iowa had managed to hold off its opponent through the entire game through communication and defending skills.

“We asked the girls to go out their and do what they do best,” head coach Lisa Cellucci said. “They went out there and did more. They communicated, they kept the ball moving, and that’s what we ask for and look for in our girls.” 

Kent State is 4-3 on the season but is coming off of back-to-back losses against No. 25 Michigan State and No. 8 Louisville. 

“If we use the same communication and connection that we had against Duke, we should be able to go out there and do what we do, and that’s field hockey,” junior Maddy Murphy said. 

The performance of the field hockey team is structured off of leadership. Through its wins and losses, there is always going to be room for improvement.

RELATED: Maddy Murphy and Katie Birch bring strong leadership for Iowa field hockey 

“We know how we played against the number two team in the nation. We just have to be able to take that and apply it to the rest of our season,” Cellucci said. 

The Hawkeyes controlled the ball well on offense over the weekend. Their 24 shots against California widely outweighed their four shots allowed, and during the match up against Duke, the Hawkeyes outshot the Blue Devils, 12-11.  

“If we are able to play how we played this weekend, I believe that we are going to have a successful season this year,” Murphy stated. “We can hopefully take this all the way to the Big Ten.”

The Hawkeyes are currently leading the all-time record against Kent State, 8-1, with their last defeat coming in 2010. The last time the two teams matched up was in 2016, when the Hawkeyes won 2-0. 

“Our teams are not new to one another. However, their game style and mentally preparedness is what we have to adjust too,” Cellucci said. “We have to go out there and stick to the game plan. If we do that, then they did what they were asked to do.”

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