No. 6 Iowa field hockey takes down No. 1 Northwestern

The Hawkeyes shut out the top-ranked Wildcats, 2-0, in a rematch of last season’s Elite Eight matchup.


Johnny Jarnagin/The Daily Iowan

Iowa forward Alex Wesneski handles the ball downfield during a field hockey game between Iowa and Providence at Grant Field in Iowa City on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Friars, 3-1.

Grant Hall, Sports Reporter

The sixth-ranked Iowa field hockey team got revenge on the road Friday afternoon, shutting out No. 1 Northwestern, 2-0, in Evanston.

Last season, the Wildcats swept the Hawkeyes in two games. Northwestern stopped then-No. 1 Iowa’s school-record 16-game winning streak to begin the 2021 season, then ended the Hawkeyes’ season in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA tournament.

The Hawkeyes flipped the script in the teams’ first meeting of 2022.

Iowa’s defense held the nation’s No. 5 scoring offense scoreless on the back of fifth-year goalkeeper Grace McGuire, who recorded nine saves on the day. The contest marked the first time Northwestern had been blanked since Sept. 16, 2018.

The Wildcats held a 16-3 shot advantage, but the Hawkeyes scored two goals — both off the stick of junior forward Alex Wesneski.

The Forty-fort, Pennsylvania native is the Hawkeyes’ top goal scorer this season, with nine in just eight games.

Wesneski earned her first score six minutes into the first quarter when senior midfielder Esme Gibson stole the ball, dished it off, and was credited with the assist.

Wesneski scored again seven minutes before the half in a crowded lane around the goal. Wesneski fired a turnaround shot after receiving a long pass from fifth-year Belgian import Lokke Stribos.

The Hawkeyes held their two-goal lead for the remainder of the game thanks to a stifling defensive effort, which held current NCAA goal leader Bente Baekers and the rest of her Wildcat teammates off the scoreboard. In the fourth quarter, the “Great Wall of Iowa” defense allowed just two shots.

Iowa head coach Lisa Cellucci said after celebrating the win on Friday night, her team will get back to business as usual.

“I am proud of the team for their performance today,” Cellucci said in a release postgame. “They stuck to the game plan and showed unbelievable discipline and determination. We are going to enjoy this win tonight and get back to work tomorrow so we can finish the weekend strong.”

Iowa’s celebration after the historic win was a bit unorthodox. Per Hawkeye Report’s Kyle Huesmann on Twitter, Cellucci and several Hawkeye players took a dip in nearby Lake Michigan after the final buzzer.

With the victory, the Hawkeyes jumped out to a 2-0 start in conference play after last weekend’s victory at home over Indiana. Iowa stands 7-1 on the season, with their only loss coming in overtime against No. 2 North Carolina on Aug. 28.

Iowa will be back in action on Sunday afternoon against Ball State on the road at 11 a.m.

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