No. 2 Iowa field hockey sweeps No. 6 Penn State

The Hawkeyes won two games against ranked Big Ten foe No. 6 Penn State to stay undefeated on the season.


Dimia Burrell

Iowa midfielder Ellie Holley works to move around a Penn State defender at Grant field on Friday Sept. 24, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions 1-0.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

No. 2 Iowa field hockey swept No. 6 Penn State this weekend, with a 4-0 win over the Nittany Lions Sunday afternoon.

The Hawkeyes took down the Nittany Lions, 1-0, Friday night in the first game of the series.

“It’s so hard to play a team twice, both teams are going to adapt. Especially Penn State after the loss on Friday,” fifth-year senior midfielder Ellie Holley said. “We changed the way we were playing and we changed the way we played in the game.”

Iowa wasted no time in Sunday’s match, as Holley scored the first goal three minutes into the game.

The Hawkeyes weathered some pressure from Penn State after the opening goals, as the Nittany Lions drew three penalties in the first period. But Iowa’s defense stood strong, keeping Penn State scoreless.

The Hawkeyes’ defense on penalty corners helped Iowa maintain its lead and earn its eighth consecutive shutout.

“Penn State has one of the best penalty corner units out there and their hitter is fantastic,” head coach Lisa Cellucci said. “We practiced it a lot this week, Lokke [Stribos] did a great job flying and [goalkeeper Grace McGuire] came up with some huge saves.”

Iowa, however, scored off a penalty corner as fifth-year senior midfielder Nikki Freeman scored her third goal of the season for the Hawkeyes. 

Iowa managed to put two more on the board, thanks to Holley and senior defender Anthe Nijziel, and stayed undefeated on the season.


With the sweep over Penn State, the Hawkeyes moved to 10-0 on the season — their best start to a season since 1999. 

Iowa tops the Big Ten leaderboard with a 2-0 Big Ten record.


Holley has continued to shine in her fifth season as a Hawkeye.

The fifth-year senior from the United Kingdom is up eight goals and seven assists on the season —  a career-high through 10 games. 

Holley scored two more skillful goals against Penn State this weekend as a reliable goalscorer for the Hawkeyes.

“She’s an All-American and she is playing like one of the best right now,” Cellucci said. “She has been very consistent game in and game out and from practice to practice.”


Iowa took their chances in Sunday’s game, converting both of their penalty corners thanks to Freeman and Nijziel’s goals.

Iowa relied on the penalty corner to score against the Nittany Lions, but opened the field a little bit more on Sunday.

“If you look at the goals, they are all simple goals,” Holley said. “That’s starting to be what we work out offensively.”


Iowa heads to the east coast next weekend for two matches against top-10 Big Ten foes Rutgers and Maryland.

The Hawkeyes will take on Rutgers Friday at 2 p.m., and Maryland on Sunday at 11 a.m.