Iowa field hockey swept by Northwestern

Northwestern dispatched Iowa, meaning the Hawkeyes dropped down to the No. 5 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

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Hannah Kinson

Iowa midfielder Esme Gibson runs down the field with the ball during the second quarter of a field hockey game against Maryland on Friday, April 2, 2021 at Grant Field. The Hawkeyes were defeated by the Terrapins, 1-0.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter


Iowa field hockey has found incredible success in the spring 2021 season.

Going into the weekend, Iowa trailed only Michigan in the Big Ten, was ranked No. 2 in the country, and had a 10-2 record in what has arguably been the best conference in field hockey this season.

That all changed this weekend, as Iowa fell 2-1 and 1-0 to Northwestern in the doubleheader. Thursday’s 2-1 loss was particularly damaging for the Hawkeyes, who fell from the No. 2 seed all the way down to the No. 5 seed for the Big Ten Tournament.

The losses could pose a serious threat to Iowa’s postseason aspirations, and it may mean Iowa has to win the Big Ten Tournament to get a bid for the NCAA Tournament.

The Hawkeyes started the first game strong, holding the Big Ten’s best offense to no shots in the first quarter while getting two of their own. The momentum continued over into the second half, where sophomore midfielder Esme Gibson capped off an amazing run through the Northwestern defense with a strong finish into the corner to give Iowa the advantage.

Northwestern responded five minutes before the half as Bente Baekers leveled the game for the Wildcats.

RELATED: Iowa field hockey to finish regular season at Northwestern

Despite holding Northwestern to just four shots the entire match, the Wildcats converted twice. It was Baekers who scored once again for Northwestern early in the second half.

The Wildcats would hold on afterwards as Iowa failed to convert any of its four shots in the second half. A big reason for that was the strong performance of Northwestern goalkeeper Annabelle Skubisz, who saved four shots on the day.

Saturday’s match was an entertaining affair, despite the 1-0 scoreline to show for it. Both teams registered 10 shots in the match, but big days from both goalkeepers meant tensions remained high throughout the match. Iowa goalkeeper Grace McGuire impressed with four saves, while Northwestern’s goalkeepers had six saves between the two of them.

After a back-and-forth first half, in which both teams traded blows, Northwestern had all the momentum in the third quarter. The Wildcats got four shots off and scored late in the third quarter, with Bente Baekers scoring yet again for Northwestern.

Iowa dominated the fourth quarter to no avail. The Black and Gold pinned Northwestern back into its own half to finish the match, but Iowa couldn’t convert any of the four chances it created late.The Hawkeyes finish the regular season 10-4 and 5-3 in games counting toward the Big Ten Conference standings.

There is an incredible four-way tie for third place, but the Hawkeyes unfortunately fall near the bottom of the tie, despite their superior overall record on the season.

The Hawkeyes will now turn their attention to the Big Ten Tournament taking place in Iowa City, where Iowa will be given a tough test in the opening round against Maryland.

The two sides will square off at Grant Field Wednesday at 2:30 p.m., and the game can also be seen on BTN.

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