No. 2 Iowa field hockey tops No. 6 Penn State to remain undefeated

The Hawkeyes took a 1-0 victory over the Nittany Lions at Grant Field Friday night to move to 9-0 on the season.

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Hannah Kinson

Iowa midfielder Lokke Stribos hits the ball after receiving the penalty corner shot during the second quarter of the Big Ten field hockey tournament quarterfinals against No. 4 Maryland on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at Grant Field. The Hawkeyes defeated the Terrapins, 3-0. No. 5 Iowa will go on to play No. 1 Michigan tomorrow afternoon.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter


No. 2 Iowa field hockey won the battle of undefeated teams Friday night as it took a 1-0 victory over previously unbeaten No. 6 Penn State.

Senior midfielder Lokke Stribos found the back of the net in the 22nd minute, with assists from senior defender Anthe Nijziel and fifth-year senior midfielder Maddy Murphy.

“The feeling was amazing,” Stribos said. “Just to be able to play with the team under the lights, this win meant a lot.”

Iowa held Penn State to just six shots throughout the entire 60 minutes, and one shot on goal. Senior goalkeeper Grace McGuire tallied one save in the first quarter.

The Nittany Lions brought on pressure late in the game, but the Hawkeyes stood firm, giving Penn State very few chances. After the Nittany Lions drew a penalty corner with just a few minutes left in the matchup, Iowa blocked the shot to hold onto the slim victory.

“It says a lot about our team’s defense,” Nijziel said postgame. “We knew that they have great players that can score in the last minute, so we were prepared for that.”

BIG PICTURE

At 9-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference, the Hawkeyes currently sit atop the Big Ten standings. The Hawkeyes’ 9-0 start is the program’s best since 1999.

Michigan, ranked No. 1 in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association poll, is also undefeated in the 2021 season. The Wolverines are 7-0 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten, with a 6-1 victory over Michigan State.

Rutgers and Ohio State, both at 1-0 in the conference, round out the undefeated Big Ten teams in conference play.

PENALTY CORNER CONVERSION

Iowa notched its lone goal of the game off a penalty corner, and generated most of its chances from set plays.

In the Hawkeyes’ goal, Stribos came up with the redirection for her sixth goal of the season — tied for the team lead with senior forward Ciara Smith and fifth-year senior midfielder Ellie Holley.

The Hawkeyes went into the matchup with a gameplan to draw and convert penalty corners because of the Nittany Lions’ stout defense.

“Penn State has a fantastic team defensive plan, too,”Cellucci said. “We knew we were going to have to try to score some goals off penalty corners.  It was a new play that we put in, and it worked perfectly. Lokke [Stribos] and Anthe [Nijziel] executed, so it was so fun to see that come to fruition.”  

DEFENSIVE DOMINANCE

The Great Wall of Iowa lived up to its name once again. The Hawkeyes secured its seventh consecutive shutout, setting a program record. 

The Hawkeyes haven’t allowed a goal since the second game of the season — 455 minutes and 20 seconds of game time.

“I can’t say enough about our back five players,” Cellucci said. “It’s poise, experience and grit.”

UP NEXT

The Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions will meet up at Grant Field again on Sunday at noon. The matchup will count as a nonconference game, not toward the Big Ten standings.

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