Olympic Sports Roundup: 9/28

By erut17 on September 28, 2021 at 3:32 pm
go hawks go
@iowafieldhockey (Twitter)
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What's the right way to talk about a team that's been perfect, but keeps finding a way to get even better? The Iowa field hockey team does everything asked of them every week and each week they're finding a way to make it look more and more impressive. I'm running out of new adjectives and I don't think the field hockey team is going to give me a break any time soon. Apologies in advance if I have to start breaking out the thesaurus to find new ways to let you know how great this team is. For now though, we'll just go with #1 team in the nation:

Field Hockey

  • As we talked about at the top, Iowa field hockey beat #6 Penn State twice over the weekend, 1-0 and 4-0. 
  • The first match was a tense affair, with Iowa scoring in the second quarter then locking down on defense for the remainder of the game. Goalie Grace McGuire made her lone save on a breakaway in the first period and other than that, the Nittany Lions were completely smothered.
  • Sunday's match was an even more complete effort from the Hawkeyes. The Hawks scored just three minutes into the match, taking early control of the game. They added two more goals in the first half, plus an extra goal in the fourth quarter to complete the dominant offensive day. Somehow, the defense was even better. The Hawks surrendered only six shots and have now gone 515:20 of game time without allowing a goal. At 11-0, Iowa is off to their best start since 1999 and has already secured five wins over Top 12 opponents.
  • The Hawkeyes are putting together an incredible streak of defense. They're barely allowing any shots on goal and the few that do reach the goalie are being turned away. It's still early in the year, but I think it's safe to start talking about All-Americans all over the field. The Hawks are dominating individually and as a team and it is a joy to watch.
  • For now, we'll take a Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honor for Anthe Nijziel:  Iowa will be back in action Friday, when they travel to face Rutgers. 

Soccer

  • The Iowa Soccer team dropped a pair of close matches last week, falling 2-0 to Indiana and 2-1 to Purdue.
  • Iowa's match against Indiana got off to a rough start when the Hawkeyes surrendered an early goal. Indiana controlled the game for much of the first half and added a second goal in the 30th minute. The Hawks nearly pulled one back in the second half, but the shot on goal was saved by a goal-line clearance (the shot sure looked to be in the net, especially upon replay, but even after review the officials decided against awarding it to the Hawkeyes).
  • Sunday's match against Purdue was a hard-fought affair. The teams traded goals in the last 10 minutes of the second half, sending the game to overtime. Purdue was able to find the winner early in the overtime period that the Hawks couldn't match.
  • Iowa's start to conference play was disappointing, but there is no doubt that this team is resilient. There was no quit or worry in the team when they fell behind and they continued to play within their system and fight back. There is still room to grow on offense and that will continue to be the key to the team's overall success this season, but the squad looks clearly improved from last year's iteration. If they clean up a few pieces around the edges, they'll be just fine in conference play.

Golf

  • The Iowa women's golf team took part in the Badger Invitational last week, finishing 9th with a three-round 914. 
  • Freshman Paula Miranda led the way for the Hawkeyes over the tournament, finishing 20th with a 222 (+6). Miranda actually led the tournament after the first round by shooting a 5-under 67.
  • The Hawkeyes will be back in action on October 8th when they take part of the Ron Moore Women's Intercollegiate in Colorado.

Volleyball

  • The volleyball team faced Illinois and #12 Nebraska last week, falling to the Illini 3-2 and to the Huskers 3-0. 
  • Wednesday's match against Illinois was a back and forth affair, but errors in the final set doomed the Hawkeyes. Courtney Buzzerio scored a match-high 24 kills and freshmen Addie Vanderweide put in a strong performance as well, notching 19 digs. (Special shoutout to Jessica Nunge, who plays for the Illini and whose brother used to play basketball for the Hawkeyes. The Nunge family has had an extraordinarily tough year and it was great to see her play so well, even if it was for the opponent.)
  • Iowa took the first set in front of the home crowd before dropping the next two. They forced a fifth set with a strong 25-17 4th set win, but couldn't get over the hump in the fifth set.
  • The Hawkeyes fought hard against Nebraska as well, but the Huskers had too much firepower for Iowa. Hannah Clayton recorded a season-high 6 blocks on the day. 
  • Iowa fell behind 8-2 to start the match and was never able to claw back in the first set. In the second and third sets, they kept it closer against the Huskers, but fell 26-24 and 25-21. 
  • This team has competed in spurts with every team they've faced, but too often are giving up scoring runs of four, five, or even larger totals that put them in a hole they can't escape. It's not uncommon for a team that is young or slightly overmatched and with these Hawks, it's likely a combination of both. The pieces are there and at times, we see the potential. Hopefully, they'll be able to find that consistency that will propel them to more wins moving forward.
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