By Michael McCurdy
Iowa field-hockey player Sophie Sunderland was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Tuesday after a weekend on the road at No. 9 Northwestern and No. 12 Michigan.
Iowa split the games, beating Northwestern in overtime on Oct. 14, 2-1, and losing, 2-1, Sunday to the No. 12 Wolverines.
Northwestern was the heavy favorite to win, but the Hawkeyes came out on top. Iowa could not have done it without Sunderland’s impressive performance.
She played the entire game, and her presence was crucial in overtime because she scored the game-winning goal to give the Hawkeyes the victory. It was Sunderland’s third goal on the season, and with 4 assists she has 7 points — putting her at second on the team for freshmen behind Katie Birch.
Sunderland has seen her role on the team exponentially increase as the season has carried on. From first getting minutes here and there to becoming a full-time starter having direct effects on the outcome of games, Sunderland is making a run at becoming Iowa’s most improved player.
This win puts Iowa at 2-4 in conference play and with two more conference games left, the Hawkeyes have the opportunity, thanks to Sunderland, to reach fourth overall in the conference, which will be crucial for the Big Ten tournament. If Iowa plans on coming out on top for the upcoming games, Sunderland will have to play in Big Ten Freshman of the Week form.