Last year, the Michigan field hockey team lost to Iowa in the first round of the Big Ten Championships. Iowa went on to win the whole thing.

This year, much to Michigan’s disappointment, the results ended up eerily similar. Except this time, the Wolverines lost in the finals.

No. 5 Michigan fell to No. 6 Iowa, 4-1, yesterday in the final of the Big Ten Championships in Columbus.

But the Wolverines say the lopsided score was misleading.

“We played toe-to-toe with Iowa the entire first half,” Michigan coach Nancy Cox said. “We had many more opportunities to finish than they did. We just couldn’t finish today, and they could.”

The Hawkeyes scored goals in the 17th and 22nd minutes to take an early 2-0 lead into halftime.

Michigan came out in the second half with constant offensive pressure, taking two penalty corners and four low shots on Iowa goalkeeper Lisa Munley in the first 10 minutes of the half.

Iowa responded with a loose-ball goal in the 46th minute, but Michigan struck back with its only goal four minutes later. Senior forward Ashley Lennington scored off a rebound in front of the net.

The Wolverines didn’t give up, but the Hawkeyes never relented. Iowa scored an insurance goal with fewer than two minutes left in the game to seal the victory.

As the Big Ten regular season champion, Michigan earned a bye and didn’t play its first game until the semifinal round, a 3-2 overtime win over Penn State on Friday.

After going 3-for-4 on penalty corners in the semifinal game, Michigan was unsuccessful on all of its penalty corners in the final.

“Our shots just weren’t falling,” senior Kristen Tiner said. “Iowa has a really solid corner defense. We just didn’t execute well.”

In Friday’s semifinal, Michigan defeated Penn State in a defensive battle. All three Michigan goals came from penalty corner plays.

In the sixth minute of overtime, junior Stephanie Hoyer scored off of a penalty corner rebound to propel Michigan into the tournament final, giving Michigan its sixth straight overtime victory.

Even though the team was disappointed with the final result of the tournament, Michigan learned a few lasting lessons heading into the final stretch of its season.

“We have some positive things that we did,” Lennington said. “But we also have some things we have to work on this week at practice – finishing and working hard day in and day out.”

Michigan already looks ahead to the NCAA Tournament, selections for which will be announced Tuesday.

“We had a lot of adversity in this match,” Cox said. “Our team responded to it beautifully, which helps going into the NCAA Tournament. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We’ll be ready to go, wherever they send us.”

Iowa 4

Michigan 1

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.