The Iowa field hockey team was able to bounce back from its loss to No. 14 Michigan on Sunday with an overtime win over No. 8 Northwestern at Grant Field on Senior Day.
Senior Sarah Drake provided the difference in the match as her overtime tally lifted No. 12 Iowa to a 3-2 win and gave the Hawkeyes their first victory over a top 10 opponent since Nov. 6, 2008, when Iowa beat No. 10 Michigan State.
Iowa (13-5, 4-2) also has won all three overtime matches it has played in this season. The Hawkeyes improved to 5-1 at Grant Field.
“Our backs were to the wall because we could not afford to lose this game,” said head coach Tracey Griesbaum. “It wouldn’t have impacted our seeding in the Big Ten Tournament, but it would have impacted our potential to be in the NCAA Tournament. This was really a must win for us.”
Drake secured the win just 5:12 into the extra period. She deflected the ball into the goal after junior Karli Johansen sent the ball into the circle.
“I didn’t see it,” said Griesbaum. “I saw the play develop and I saw what Karli did, but I couldn’t see the ball hit their sticks. You’ve got to play to the end. We had great offensive flow to our game today; we defended like crazy and contained their key players. All phases of our game were pretty good.”
Northwestern (16-3, 4-2) jumped out to a 2-0 lead following unassisted goals from Tara Puffenberger and Nikki Parsley. The Wildcats got on the board first with Puffenberger’s shot at 7:23 and then Parsley made it 2-0 in the 37th minute.
Iowa’s comeback effort was led by freshman Natalie Cafone and Drake, who completed the first multi-goal game of the season and the fifth of her career.
Cafone got Iowa on the board with her goal at 45:23 as she scored her seventh tally of 2012. Senior Geena Lesiak collected an assist on the play.
Then just two minutes later, Drake tied the match with an unassisted goal. She now has five goals on the season.
Senior Kathleen McGraw picked up the win in goal for the Hawkeyes — her 13th of the season. She made three stops.
The Hawkeyes held Northwestern to just five shots on the day, the Wildcats’ lowest output of the season. Iowa also held Chelsea Armstrong, the nation’s leading goal scorer, to no goals and on just one shot attempt.
Iowa ended the contest with a 17-5 advantage in shots and a 9-2 edge in penalty corners.
The Hawkeye seniors honored before the game included Drake, Lesiak, McGraw, Jessica Barnett, Kelsey Boyce and Sarah Pedrick.
The Hawkeyes will host the Big Ten Tournament at Grant Field this week. Iowa, the fourth seed, begins the tournament with a match against fifth-seeded Michigan State at 11 a.m. Thursday.
It is the first time Iowa has hosted the conference meet since 2005 but will have now hosted the event three different times. The first time Iowa hosted the Big Ten Tournament was 1997.
No. 14 Michigan 2, No. 12 Iowa 1
The only loss at home for the Iowa field hockey team came Friday at Grant Field when the Hawkeyes lost a thrilling 2-1 contest against No. 14 Michigan.
Iowa trailed 1-0 after Michigan’s Lauren Thomas found the back of the goal off a penalty corner. Assists on the play came from Leslie Smith and Leslie Morris.
Michigan (12-5, 4-2) would take a 1-0 lead into halftime. But the Hawkeyes evened the match at 1 juts two minutes into the second half. Junior Dani Hemeon connected on her eighth goal of the season as she put in a shot off a teammate’s miss.
Samantha Gray gave the lead back to the Wolverines in the 39th minute as she fired a ball from outside the circle, which allowed Emy Guttman to deflect the pass into the net.
Hemeon looked to have tied the match later, but the goal was called off after being deemed that the ball was too high. That came with 14:34 to play in the match, and the Wolverines were able to hold off the Hawkeyes for the rest of the match.
Michigan’s Haley Jones was the winning goalkeeper, making 10 saves. Kathleen McGraw made three stops for Iowa. She fell to 12-5 this season.
Iowa held a 16-7 advantage in shots and also were plus-four in penalty corners at 10-6.