Iowa's Katie Birch hits the ball during a game against UNH at Grant Field on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. The Hawkeyes fell to the Wildcats, 3-2. (Lily Smith/ The Daily Iowan)

A fall, then a declaw

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Iowa field hockey loses to the New Hampshire Wildcats on Sept. 8 but crushes it on Sunday.

By Taylor McNitt

taylor-mcnitt@uiowa.edu

A two-games series with New Hampshire produced mixed results for Iowa field hockey; it split the weekend contests.

On Sept. 8, the Hawkeyes fell to the Wildcats in a 3-2 game, something they didn’t expect — and a stark contrast compared with Iowa’s 7-1 victory on Sunday.

“I was really disappointed with our effort [Sept. 8],” head coach Lisa Cellucci said. “We knew [New Hampshire] was a great team, and [it] showed up and played exactly like we thought [it] would. And our team did not show up in the manner in which we do, so that was really disappointing, and it took us too long to get into the game.”

Iowa scored the first goal on a penalty corner thanks to sophomore Sophie Sunderland, with an assist by grad student Lucie Daman. The first half stayed 1-0, but the second half turned into New Hampshire-ville.

In the 42nd and 54th minutes, the Wildcat scored on attacks. Cellucci said that shouldn’t have happened.

“[We] didn’t compete, [we] didn’t stick to the game plan, and we just didn’t control tempo or possession,” she said. “So we had to work extra hard to get ourselves back in the game, and that proved to be just too exhausting in the end.”

After New Hampshire’s second goal, Iowa found its aggression just in time to score on a penalty corner after three prior penalty-corner attempts.

The game went into overtime, but New Hampshire’s penalty corner goal in the 73rd minute sealed the deal.

The Hawkeyes didn’t hang their heads in disappointment for long, however; the loss pushed Iowa to return on Sunday with fire.

RELATED: Hawkeyes ready to shine both times against New Hampshire

“This is how we expected the team to show up on [Sept. 8],” Cellucci said. “It was a great effort by everyone on the team; we got almost everybody in, we worked on our press with just our team defense, and then we were 100 percent on our penalty corners, which is outstanding. This is the way we know this team can play, and I’m happy that they showed it [Sunday].”

In just the second minute of Sunday’s game, senior Taylor Omweg, assisted by sophomore Katie Birch, tipped the ball in on a corner. Thirty minutes later, Birch, assisted by Daman and junior Makenna Grewe, scored on another corner.

Just a minute later, before the first half ended, New Hampshire came back with its first and only goal.

Iowa turned it on in the second half, pouring in 5 goals.

RELATED: Hawkeye field hockey takes on three California teams

“I’m really proud of our performance [Sunday],” Birch said. “I think this solid win really shows how strong our team is and how good we can be, and it’s just getting that consistency throughout the season now.”

Freshman Madeline Murphy, who scored 2 goals, agreed.

“Every single member of the team played so well, and it was just really nice to finally get that feeling of a great game of hockey we all love,” she said. “The team focused on connection on Sunday, and it’s the connection that made the difference.”

The team now looks forward to Big Ten play next weekend with confidence.

“We remembered why we were playing for each other,” Birch said. “We really showed them what Iowa is.”

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