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

Iowa field hockey offense slows in loss to No. 2 Northwestern

The loss marked the Hawkeyes’ first shutout defeat this season — a season that was marked by high offensive output.
Carly Schrum
Iowa forward Annika Herbine calls for the ball during the game against the Vermont Catamounts at Grant Field in Iowa City on Sept. 15, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Catamounts, 5-0.

The Iowa field hockey offense has halted in two of its past three contests. 

Despite notching as many as eight goals twice this season, the Hawkeyes mustered only one on two shots on goal in a 2-1 defeat against the No. 7 Buckeyes on Sept. 29.

A similar result came against No. 2 Northwestern on Friday. 

The Wildcats held the Hawkeye offense scoreless for the first time this season in a 2-0 road victory at Grant Field in Iowa City.

“We played poorly,” Iowa head coach Lisa Cellucci said of the loss. “We can play at a much better standard, and we didn’t stick to the plan. I think Northwestern dominated us in pretty much every facet of the game.”

The Hawkeye offense found only one shot on goal and zero penalty corners through three quarters of play, struggling to get past the Wildcat defense. 

“We had a really hard time penetrating their press and being able to build the ball,” Cellucci said, reflecting on the offensive output. 

“We had to be able to show some different looks,” she added. “We were trying to go inside, and that didn’t work. Then we needed to play through our outside midfielders but didn’t have enough positional discipline to set that up.” 

Despite three Iowa shots on goal in the fourth period, an improvement from the early-game stall as the Hawkeyes finally moved the ball into the circle, the Wildcat defense sniffed it out.

Northwestern senior goalie Annabel Skubisz was a perfect 4-of-4 in save opportunities. 

“[Northwestern has] great defense and great goalkeeping,” Cellucci said. “We needed to be able to put them under continued pressure, and we couldn’t sustain our attack. 

“The goalkeeper came up with some good saves there at the end, but the only way you are going to be able to break through against Northwestern is to be able to have some sustained attack,” she added.

And the Iowa offense has looked a lot different since entering Big Ten play this season. 

Before conference play, the Hawkeyes scored an average of 4.9 goals per contest. Now, since the offensive slump, Iowa averages 3.75. 

“Our message is we have to keep going, and we don’t have another choice,” Cellucci said. “We have to find a way to get the ball in the front field and get upgrades in the attacking circle. We need penalty corners. We need shots on goal. But that really starts with our outlet and really in our midfield and how we are building the ball.”

But a loss on Friday doesn’t make the rest of the Iowa field hockey team’s schedule any easier. 

The Hawkeyes will face three top 10 opponents in their next four games: No. 5 Louisville, No. 9 Maryland, and No. 16 Penn State — giving the offense no off days against weaker opponents. 

“There is plenty of opportunity,” Cellucci said. “We have a couple of top 10 teams coming at us too, so there are a lot of opportunities to still put ourselves in a really good position for the postseason. But we have to take one step at a time, and we’ve got to make changes in practice on Sunday.”

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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.
Carly Schrum, Photojournalist
Carly is a freshman majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and potentially majoring in sustainability. She works at the Daily Iowan as a photojournalist.