Iowa field hockey clinches share of Big Ten regular season title

The Hawkeyes will have at least a share of the conference regular season title after a 16-0 start.


Casey Stone

The Iowa Hawkeyes celebrate clinching a share of the Big Ten Conference regular season title during the field hockey game between Iowa and Ohio State at Grant Field on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021. Iowa defeated Ohio State 3-0.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

After a victory over No. 2 Michigan on Friday, Hawkeye field hockey had to complete a quick turnaround against No. 19 Ohio State on Sunday at Grant Field.

Iowa got off to a slow start on Sunday afternoon, playing three quarters with no score between the Buckeyes and the Hawkeyes.

The Hawkeyes had a penalty corner called back, and Ohio State appeared comfortable and absorbed Iowa’s offensive pressure.

But after six shots from the Hawkeyes in the first 45 minutes of the match, Iowa had a late surge in the fourth quarter.

Fifth-year senior midfielder Nikki Freeman burst the match to life with ten minutes to go, notching the first goal of the game off a penalty corner.

Then, the floodgates opened for the Hawkeyes, scoring two more goals throughout the final ten minutes of the match.

Fifth-year senior midfielder Maddy Murphy notched a goal off an assist from Freeman, and senior defender Anthe Nijziel found the back of the net off a penalty corner.

With the win over the Buckeyes, Iowa clinched a share of the Big Ten regular season title. The Hawkeyes can win the title outright with a win over Northwestern in their final regular season game on Oct. 29.

The win meant Iowa clinched a share of the Big Ten title and can win it outright with a win over Northwestern. 

“It feels amazing to do it on our own field, it’s been a tough weekend but we’ve been preparing for it all season,” Freeman said. “We know we’ve worked hard for this and earned this so it feels really good.”


Iowa is 7-0 in the Big Ten and 16-0 overall, with just one more conference game in the regular season.

The Hawkeyes have clinched the Big Ten regular season title for the second time in three years.


Ohio State made the match difficult for the Hawkeyes, limiting Iowa to just six shots over the first three periods.

But the Hawkeyes generated 12 shots in the fourth quarter alone, including three late-quarter goals.

Iowa’s defense locked down and did not concede any goals in the late surge.

“We all were a little tired and knew we were going into this game with that feeling,” senior defender Anthe Nijziel said. “We know we can be mentally and physically tough, and that is what got us through the game.”


After notching a goal off a penalty corner in Friday’s game against Michigan, the Hawkeyes did more of the same Sunday afternoon.

Iowa’s first two goals of the game came off penalty corners in Sunday’s match.

“Our penalty corner conversions, especially in the fourth quarter, were awesome,” head coach Lisa Cellucci said. “Nikki’s goal was fantastic, we have not had a chance to call it in awhile, so it was great to see them finish.”


Iowa has a week off before its final regular season match. The Hawkeyes will take on Northwestern at Grant Field on Oct. 29 at 2 p.m.

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