By Taylor McNitt
Hawkeye field hockey opened up conference play with a 3-0 loss against Penn State on Sept. 15, but then snared a 3-2 victory against Penn on Sunday.
The Hawkeyes held their own against the No. 2 Nittany Lions for the first 32 minutes, but then the Lions scored on a penalty corner to break the stalemate. Penn State scored twice more in the second half to secure the victory.
“We played outstanding for the first 50 minutes,” head coach Lisa Cellucci said in a release. “You have to give credit to Penn State. They kept the pressure on and proved why they are the second-ranked team in the country.”
Penn State’s record moved to 7-0 before falling to No. 6 Delaware on Sunday.
Despite the loss, the Hawkeyes had quite a bit to be proud of. Senior goalkeeper Katie Jones made a career-high 8 saves and, with the rest of the team, successfully turned away five of six penalty corners.
“We will go back to work and keep getting better,” Cellucci said in a release. “We are right on the cusp of breaking through.”
Breaking through is exactly what the Hawkeyes did against Penn, a victory proved to be the perfect medicine to combat the earlier loss.
Iowa scored first in the 23rd minute, thanks to freshman Maddy Murphy, assisted by sophomore Katie Birch.
Penn came back with 2 goals, one right before the end of the first half to tie the match, then one in the 48th minute to take the lead. The lead didn’t last long, however, as freshman Lizzy Cimilluca retaliated with her own goal in the 49th minute to tie the score once more. Seven minutes later, senior Mallory Lefkowitz, assisted by Nikki Freeman, scored the game-winning goal.
In the last five minutes, Penn removed its goalie so that all players on the field were attacking, but to no avail. Iowa hung on strong until the end to record to improve its record to 4-5.
On Friday, Iowa will face No. 9 Maryland before taking on No. 24 Rutgers on Sept. 24.