The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

No. 3 Iowa field hockey prepares for showdown with No. 2 Northwestern

The Hawkeyes will host the Wildcats at Grant Field on Friday at 3 p.m.
Grace Smith
Iowa midfield and defender Esme Gibson passes the ball during a field hockey match between No. 1 Iowa and Michigan State at Grand Field in Iowa City on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023. Gibson played for all 60 minutes of the match. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans, 3-1.

The No. 5 Iowa field hockey team took down No. 1 Northwestern in the Hawkeyes’ second Big Ten game last season. Later that year, the Wildcats got the better of the Hawkeyes in a 2-1 victory in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

This Friday, Iowa has a chance to redeem itself against Northwestern at Grant Field. The ball will drop at 3 p.m., and the contest will be broadcast on Big Ten Network.

The Hawkeyes and the Wildcats have had several matchups in past years. Iowa leads the series, 57-28-6. It’s the past couple of seasons that have shown why this matchup is considered a rivalry. 

In 2021, the No. 3 Hawkeyes were hosting the NCAA Tournament. They welcomed the No. 7 Wildcats and lost a heartbreaker, 1-0. Iowa had a 17-3 record that season, with two of the three losses coming from the Wildcats. 

“Both teams know each other so well, and the preparation is obviously ongoing,” Iowa head coach Lisa Cellucci said.

Related: Iowa cross country notebook | Murphy, Blazek lead Hawkeyes in Joe Piane Invite

This season, both teams are playing some of their best field hockey in recent years. 

The Hawkeyes currently find themselves ranked No. 3 in the country despite their first loss of the season to Ohio State. Iowa leads the country in multiple offensive categories including goals, goals per game, scoring average, and scoring margin. 

On the defensive side, Cellucci’s unit has been dominant. The defense ranks second in the nation in shutouts, shutouts per game, and goals allowed. 

Iowa goalie Mia Magnotta has been a key factor in that defensive success. The Pennsylvania product has allowed six goals with 22 saves, holding a 10-1 record as the Hawkeyes’ goaltender. 

The No. 2 Wildcats come into the contest flexing an 11-1 record and are 4-0 in conference play. They are second in the nation behind the Hawkeyes with 0.58 goals against average and are tied with Rutgers for best save percentage in the conference at .816.

“They are a good team, and they are always a good team,” Iowa forward Alex Wesneski said. “Just focusing on us because it’s really not about them. It’s about what we can do better and how we can improve.”

Northwestern passed Iowa in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association rankings after winning against Michigan State and No. 15 Michigan.

“Both teams will be ready to play on Friday,” Cellucci said. “I think Northwestern has a great chance to go number one in the poll this week. Rankings obviously don’t matter but a huge regional game and a huge Big Ten game.”

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About the Contributors
Jake Olson, Sports Reporter
Email: [email protected] Jake Olson is a Sports Reporter for The Daily Iowan. In his three years with the paper, he has covered everything from rowing to basketball. He is studying journalism and mass communication with a minor in sports and rec management.
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.