Iowa field hockey bounces back against Boston

In their home opener, the Hawkeyes defeated the Terriers after a loss on the road last weekend.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa forwards Leah Zellner and Alex Wesneski walk back to midfield to prepare for a penalty corner during the first 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.

Grant Hall, Sports Reporter

The Iowa field hockey team got off to a slow start on Friday afternoon before the goals started piling up.

The No. 5 ranked Hawkeyes were held scoreless by Boston University’s back line in the first quarter, but junior Alex Wesneski broke the ice off an assist from sophomore Lieve Schalk roughly six minutes into the second quarter.

Senior midfielder Sofie Stribos followed up with a goal seven minutes later, giving Iowa a two-score advantage headed into halftime.

In the third quarter, sophomore Annika Herbine threaded one between the Boston goalie Kate Thomason’s legs for a score, and Wesneski netted a second goal with ten minutes left in the match to push the final tally to 4-0.

Wesneski doubled her season goal total from two to four on Friday. The junior forward from Forty-Fort, Pennsylvania, has already quadrupled her 2021-22 total just three games into the season.

Despite her personal success and the Hawkeyes’ victory on Friday, Wesneski said the Hawkeye players and coaches are not entirely content with how they have started the season.

“I think we played at a really high standard last weekend [despite a loss to No. 2 North Carolina],” Wesneski said. “Today, we talked about still raising the level [of play]. We scored four great goals, but we still have to come out on the front foot.”

Hawkeyes head coach Lisa Cellucci, who celebrated win No. 100 last weekend against No. 20 Wake Forest, said she was impressed by the team’s ability to overcome early adversity amidst the slow start.

“We just really needed to be able to change the picture ahead of the ball, that’s where we really struggled today,” Cellucci said. “We kind of had an idea that [Boston] would play us the way they did today, falling away and really packing it in, so we really needed to be able to change shape up front. Once we were able to do that, the goals started to fall.”

The Hawkeye defense held Boston to just one shot the entire game, as fifth-year seniors Anthe Nijziel, Lokke Stribos, and goalkeeper Grace McGuire held down the back line.

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Nijziel, a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, said the Hawkeye defense needs to use Friday’s shutout as a stepping stone moving forward.

“We’ve got to find a way to put more pressure on them,” Nijziel said. “I think sometimes we let them get the ball a little bit too easily. Grace has played out of her mind this past week, but I think today the overall defensive performance was a lot better.”

Iowa will host its second match of the weekend when St. Louis University comes to town on Sunday afternoon.

Wesneski said the team is looking to improve upon Friday’s performance as they take on the Billikens.

“We’re [looking] to bring high energy to Sunday’s game,” Wesneski said. “It’s going to be a decent game, every team is going to put us under a lot of pressure. We’re always wondering what we’re going to do next with the ball, where the ball is going to go, and I think we can get it done on Sunday.”

The Hawkeyes stand at 2-1 as they head into Sunday’s 1 p.m. clash with 0-2 St. Louis.

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