Iowa field hockey notebook | Offensive woes hurting Hawkeyes on the road

The Hawkeyes are now 10-5 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten.


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. 8 Iowa field hockey has struggled throughout the first four games of its five-game road trip. 

After winning their most recent home game against then-No. 21 Rutgers on Oct. 2, the Hawkeyes have gone 1-3.

All three of Iowa’s losses over that span have come to Big Ten opponents — No. 4 Penn State, No. 20 Ohio State, and No. 7 Michigan. The Hawkeyes’ sole win during that stretch was a 2-1 victory over No. 17 James Madison on Oct. 9.

The Hawkeyes have mustered just one goal combined in their three most recent defeats — a score by Anthe Nijziel in the Nittany Lions’ 2-1 overtime victory on Oct. 7. 

The Buckeyes and Wolverines held the Hawkeyes scoreless this past weekend, securing identical 2-0 victories on Oct. 14 and 16, respectively. 

The losses to Ohio State and Michigan marked Iowa’s first time losing back-to-back games this season, and the program’s first time being shut out in consecutive games since Northwestern and Michigan held Iowa scoreless in April 2021.

The Michigan defense stymied Iowa’s attack, allowing the Hawkeyes just three shots in the entire contest. Michigan held significant advantages in both shots and penalty corners, taking 21 shots and earning 10 penalty corners to the Hawkeyes’ three.

This Sunday, the Hawkeyes will take on Michigan at Northwestern for the fifth and final game of their road trip.

While offense struggles, defense remains strong

Although the Hawkeyes have struggled offensively in recent games, they still maintain a 37-16 goal margin through the first 15 games of the season.

The Hawkeyes have outshot their opponents, 175-125.

Iowa has fallen to No. 21 in the country in goal average with 2.47 scored per game, but the defense has allowed just 16 scores on the year – eighth best in the country.

As the Hawkeyes push to solve their offensive woes in the final two weeks of the regular season, the ‘Great Wall of Iowa’, starring fifth-year seniors Lokke Stribos, Grace McGuire, and Anthe Nijziel, will need to stand tall. 

RELATED: Iowa field hockey goalie Grace McGuire holds down the fort

Iowa below .500 in Big Ten play

Heading into the road trip, Iowa’s lone Big Ten loss was at the hands of then-No. 4 Maryland in a top-five matchup at Grant Field on Sept. 30. The Hawkeyes lost, 2-1, in an overtime thriller.

Now, the Hawkeyes have fallen to 3-4 in Big Ten play. Iowa sits fifth in the conference with one loss to each of the top three teams in Maryland, Penn State, and Michigan.

Hawkeyes to return home for Senior Day

After this weekend’s Oct. 23 date with the Wolverines, the Hawkeyes will return home for the first time in nearly a month. Iowa takes on 7-7 Michigan State at Grant Field on Oct. 28 for Senior Day.

The Spartans stand dead last in the Big Ten standings with a 1-6 conference record as of Oct. 19.