Olympic Sports Roundup: 11/16

By erut17 on November 16, 2021 at 1:56 pm
sigh
@iowafieldhockey (Twitter)
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There's no easy way to end a season, but there's something particularly cruel about the seasons that end before you even have a chance to understand that they're over. The buzzer-beaters and hail marys and last-minute goals rip your heart out and barely give you a chance to process what's happening.

For Iowa field hockey, it was as heartbreaking a loss as I've seen. The team played Northwestern tough for 99% of the match before a speculative Wildcat shot in the final minute found the back of the net and ended the Hawks season in an instant. It doesn't take away from the historic regular season the Hawkeyes had, but it's a gut punch that will take some time to process and come to grips with.

 

Field Hockey

  • The Hawkeye field hockey team beat American 3-2 in their first-round matchup last week on the back of a furious fourth quarter comeback. Unfortunately, as we mentioned at the top, Iowa's season met its end in the Elite Eight against Northwestern, the same team that knocked them out of the Big Ten Tournament. 
  • Iowa took the lead early against American and looked comfortable during the first half. In the third quarter though, the Eagles came out pressing hard and found both an equalizer and a go-ahead goal in the third. It was a stunning moment watching the complexion of the game turn in an instant, but the Hawkeyes regrouped over the third period intermission and came out in the fourth quarter composed and aggressive.
  • The late-game heroics came courtesy of Ciara Smith. Smith redirected two crosses into the back of the net in a three-minute span, tying the game and then giving the Hawks the eventual game-winner.

 

  • The Elite Eight match against Northwestern was a defensive struggle, with Northwestern dictating the pace of play for much of the match. Even so, Iowa manufactured multiple good chances to score and kept the Wildcats off the board.
  • The devastating goal came in the final minute when Northwestern turned the Hawkeyes over in their own half and fired a backhand shot from the top of the circle. The shot flew past several bodies on its way to the goal before squeaking past Grace McGuire into the back of the net. The Hawks tried to find an equalizer, but there just wasn't enough time and in the blink of an eye, the historic Hawkeye season was over.
  • Gut punch doesn't begin to describe the end of this historic season, but these Hawks still have so much to be proud of. The team won the Big Ten regular season title, outclassing the best conference in the country, and were ranked in the Top 3 for the entire year. The team will rightfully be disappointed in the final result, but they have a ton to be proud of and were a joy to watch and cover throughout the year.

Cross Country

  • The Hawkeye cross country teams competed in the Regional Championships last week. The women's team finished 14th, while the men's team finished 13th.
  • On the women's side, Lauren McMahon was the top finisher, finishing 56th in 21:43.9. Jessica McKee finished just behind McMahon in 58th and her sister Brooke McKee finished 62nd. 
  • In the men's race, the Hawkeyes' first finisher was Noah Healy, who finished 46th in 31:33.6. Kal Lewis was close behind finishing 52nd, with Nick Trattner just behind him in 64th. 
  • Both teams will now turn their focus to the Indoor Track and Field season where many of the runners will take part in the distance races for the track squad.

Volleyball

  • Iowa volleyball picked up another conference win this week, bouncing back from a tough loss against Minnesota to start the week to beat Maryland on Saturday.
  • The Hawkeyes played #8 Minnesota tough, but the Gophers imposed their will as the match went on. The top teams will usually give you only a single chance to take advantage of and for the Hawkeyes that was the first set. Iowa battled back from a 19-15 deficit to tie the set at 22, but Minnesota bounced back to take the set 25-23. After that, the Gophers refused to let the Hawkeyes get that close to another set victory, claiming the second set, 25-14, and the third set, 25-17.
  • Against Maryland, Iowa showed the same resiliency and fight they've displayed all season, battling back from a first set loss to take the next three sets and claim a match victory. Courtney Buzzerio again led the way for the Hawks, racking up 23 kills and Hannah Clayton chipped in 11 kills of her own.
  • The team has made a few positional adjustments since the coaching change and it's led to immediate results. More than any positional changes though, the Hawks are learning to put together complete games. They're doing a better job of avoiding big holes and finishing teams when they have the chance. There's still a talent gap, moreso related to depth than anything else, between the Hawks and the best in the Big Ten (who are also some of the best in the country), but the foundation Vicki Brown laid is beginning to come to fruition and you can see the program's path to success in the future. Hopefully, they'll start to trend in the right direction in the coming seasons.
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