The Daily Iowan

Not quite what field hockey had hoped

Iowa field hockey’s season has ended, with all its ups and downs.

Iowa+forward+Madeline+Murphy+looks+to+a+teammate+during+a+field+hockey+game+during+the+Big+Ten%2FACC+Challenge+at+Grant+Field+in+Iowa+City+on+Saturday%2C+Aug.+26%2C+2017.+The+Hawkeyes+fell+to+Wake+Forest%2C+3-2.+%28Joseph+Cress%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29
Iowa forward Madeline Murphy looks to a teammate during a field hockey game during the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Grant Field in Iowa City on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. The Hawkeyes fell to Wake Forest, 3-2. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa forward Madeline Murphy looks to a teammate during a field hockey game during the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Grant Field in Iowa City on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. The Hawkeyes fell to Wake Forest, 3-2. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Iowa forward Madeline Murphy looks to a teammate during a field hockey game during the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Grant Field in Iowa City on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. The Hawkeyes fell to Wake Forest, 3-2. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)


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By Taylor McNitt
[email protected]

Coming out of the season with a 7-11 overall record, no one in the Iowa field-hockey program can say this is where they wanted to be.

“Some of [the games were] very good. Some of them, not our best,” sophomore Katie Birch said. “I think our conference games, we really rose to the challenge of Michigan and Northwestern, we really brought it to them. I think all the games against [New Hampshire] weren’t our best performances, for sure. But I think we definitely took a lot of lessons from them. Overall, this season wasn’t too down. It was still good.”

Iowa’s big problem on the field was a simple one many teams fall into: playing to the level of the team they face.

While this means the Hawkeyes were able to rise to the challenge of tough teams such as Michigan and Northwestern, it also meant they sunk to the level of teams such as New Hampshire.

The Hawkeyes were fierce competitors when facing North Carolina, Stanford, Penn State, Duke, and Michigan. These were all teams the Hawkeyes would have been hard-pressed to beat, but they held their own and even gave them a run for their money.

If the Hawkeyes had lost only the games they were expected to lose, the season record would have come out looking far more positive. However, Iowa dropped some expected wins, which hurt.

RELATED: Iowa field hockey closes out season with loss in Big Ten tournament

Throughout the season, the chief problem cited was a lack of depth.

“Part of it is where we’re located compared to everybody else in the country; there’s not much hockey play in the Midwest, so all of our student-athletes are on scholarship,” head coach Lisa Cellucci said. “It’s very different from a lot of schools out East. They get a lot of walk-on student-athletes. Another reason is that we typically like to play a little bit smaller roster, but that would be 23, 24, not what we have right now. So a lot of it is just location and history, too. It’s just that when you have more athletes who aren’t seeing as much playing time, it’s harder to manage as well.”

Iowa was consistently the smaller team. When a team has fewer players, it means the same athletes are footing the bill every single time through the entire game. Players get tired and can’t effectively compete for the full 70 minutes.

And thus, Iowa couldn’t deliver when it needed most.

Despite these obvious disappointments from the season, a pair of freshman eyes still sees it as an incredible experience.

“I loved it. [It was] so much fun,” said freshman Maddy Murphy. “Nothing like I was expecting. I actually had no idea what it was like. Just the level, the standard of hockey is just a lot better than I thought it would be. The work rate, just how hard everyone works and the professional environment is just different from back home. It’s just more relaxed in Australia, so it was good. I’m happy with how the team performed and how we grew over the regular season. [I’m] looking forward to next season already.”

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