The No. 7 Michigan field hockey team (7-1 Big Ten, 13-6 overall) was looking to repeat as Big Ten Tournament champions. However, No. 8 Iowa (4-4, 14-5) had other plans, finding a way on the board early.
The Hawkeyes knocked off the defending champions, 2-1, in Evanston on Friday afternoon.
Iowa quickly disrupted the Wolverines’ rhythm with a goal seven minutes in.
“Iowa came out with a lot more intensity than we did, and that set the tone for the first half of the match.” said Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz. “And we got ourselves in quite a big hole, and by the time we woke up and started playing Michigan field hockey, it was a little bit too late. Too little, too late.”
Midfielder Mya Christopher scored for the Hawkeyes with a finish from a tight angle for her fourth goal of the season. At halftime, Iowa led 1-0. The Hawkeyes came out strong in the second half, doubling their lead seven minutes in. Midfielder Makenna Grewe scored from close range off an assist from midfielder Katie Birch.
However, the Wolverines were not ready to give up yet. They responded with a goal just six minutes later from senior forward Emma Way. That marked Way’s team-leading 18th goal of the season. Way redirected the ball from point-blank range off a shot from junior midfielder Meg Dowthwaite.
Michigan pressed hard for a tying goal with four penalty corners in the final minute. However, it was unable to convert any of them. Way’s shot in the final moments was saved, ending the comeback bid.
“You can learn a lot from losses, and certainly we learned that you have to play a full 70 minutes.” Pankratz said. “You have to be prepared in the beginning and get yourself personally prepared for every match and especially in the Big Ten and the Big Ten Tournament.”
Despite the Wolverines’ late comeback attempt, Iowa dominated the game. The Hawkeyes outshot Michigan 13 to four with nine shots on goal.
“Hopefully, we can regroup and we’ll see how the draw looks (in the NCAA tournament),” Pankratz said. “And it's a new season certainly, starting NCAAs, and we’re looking forward to it.”