No. 10 Iowa field hockey ends losing streak against Michigan State

The Hawkeyes celebrated Senior Day with a 1-0 victory over the Spartans.


Gabby Drees

The ball rolls into the Michigan State net during a field hockey game between Iowa and Michigan State at Grant Field in Iowa City on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans, 1-0.

Grant Hall, Sports Reporter

The Iowa field hockey team finished its regular season on Friday. The Hawkeyes sent their graduating players out with a win, earning a 1-0 home victory on Senior Day over Michigan State.

Seven fifth-year seniors suited up for their final game at Grant Field: two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Anthe Nijziel, Richmond transfer Olivia Frazier, Germany native Laura Drees, second-team All-Big Ten midfielder Lokke Stribos, second-team All-American goalkeeper Grace McGuire, and forward Ciara Smith.

The Hawkeyes’ offensive deficiencies continued from their recent road trip into Friday evening, as Iowa earned 12 penalty corners yet converted just one goal. The game’s lone score came off the stick of sophomore Annika Herbine early in the third quarter.

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

Herbine’s goal was the Hawkeyes’ first score in three games. Iowa was held scoreless in a loss to Ohio State and in back-to-back games against Michigan.

Iowa head coach Lisa Cellucci said her squad will continue to work on converting its penalty corner opportunities to reverse its recent offensive struggles.

“It was great to draw penalty corners,” Cellucci said. “We have to be able to execute, and we have to be able to find a way to put the ball in the goal.”

Despite the low-scoring affair, Cellucci is confident her team can right the ship offensively.

“We had momentum, we had control of the game the entire time,” Cellucci said. “I think we could have easily put five or six goals on the board, but we just barely missed the posts on either side. It’s great to get a win because now we can take a breath and have that momentum going forward.”

Nijziel said Iowa’s improved ball handling was key in the victory. The Hawkeyes had a number of impressive lengthy passes upfield leading to penalty corners, hence Iowa’s 12–1 advantage in that category. 

“We had some really good passes up the field,” Nijziel said. “Our decision-making was much better today. We’ve got to keep that going because we kept choosing the simple option today, and that’s a great improvement from the past couple of games.”

The No. 10-ranked Hawkeyes enter the postseason with an 11-6 overall record and a 4-4 Big Ten mark.

Iowa will face No. 6 Michigan in the first round of the conference tournament in Columbus, Ohio, at 10 a.m. on Nov. 3.

The Wolverines shut out the Hawkeyes in both of the teams’ matchups earlier this season.

Nijziel said Iowa expects a fight every time it steps on the field. Despite Michigan’s two wins over the Hawkeyes this season, she said her team is up for the challenge.

“Every team in the Big Ten is really good,” Nijziel said. “Whoever we play, we will be ready.”