No. 6 Iowa field hockey shuts out No. 22 UMass for fourth straight victory

The Hawkeyes took down the Minutewomen, 2-0, at Grant Field on Sunday afternoon.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa defender Anthe Nijziel passes the ball during a field hockey match between No. 6 Iowa and No. 22 Massachusetts at Grant Field in Iowa City on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022. Nijziel recorded one goal in the game. The Hawkeyes defeated the Minutewomen, 2-0.

Grant Hall, Sports Reporter

No. 6 Iowa field hockey held No. 22 UMass scoreless in a 2-0 win at Grant Field on Sunday afternoon.

The shutout was Iowa’s third in the past four games. The Hawkeye defense did not allow the Minutewomen to take a single shot all game, leading to a 14-0 shot difference in the box score.

Associate head coach Michael Boal coached in place of head coach Lisa Cellucci on Sunday because of sickness. He said the defensive consistency shown by the “Great Wall of Iowa” has been vital to the team’s four-game win streak.

“We have an expectation for each other and for ourselves to have a really good defense,” Boal said. “That was one of the things from Friday to today that really improved and got better, we were much more happy with it today because that’s what we’re all about at Iowa.”

The Hawkeye scoring opened early, as fifth-year senior and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Anthe Nijziel scored off a penalty corner two minutes into the game, with assists from Annika Herbine and Sofie Stribos.

After the Hawkeyes scored on their first penalty corner of the game, Iowa earned eight more chances but didn’t get another goal off the corner. Boal said he was not worried about the Hawkeyes’ difficulties in converting those opportunities.

“UMass has a great defense,” Boal said. “They made a number of saves. We’re getting the ball on target … we’re getting the corners, which is the main thing. Obviously, we just want to sharpen the edge and try to get more from the corners on the score sheet in terms of goals, but we’re earning them, and that’s half the battle, so we’re pretty happy with that.”

The Hawkeyes scored their second goal of the game in the third quarter. Junior Alex Wesneski netted the goal to tie Herbine atop the Hawkeye season scoring column. Wesneski and Herbine have scored 14 points apiece this season. Wesneski has netted seven goals, and Herbine has scored five goals with four assists.

“I think this is just the most complete game that we have put on the field this year,” Nijziel said. “It was way more organized, and we had some great passes upfield. It was a way better game than any we’ve played this season.”

Iowa now stands at 5-1 as the Hawkeyes head into Big Ten play next weekend. Boal said the Hawkeyes have some things to work on before their home game against Indiana on Friday. 

The Hawkeyes will host the Hoosiers at 4 p.m.

“We’re going to take a look at Indiana and see what they’re doing right now,” Boal said. “We’ll come up with a game plan this week, and just really try to keep a lot of focus on us and how we can improve and get better, so we can take it to them and make sure we’re ready to go.”

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