IOWA CITY, Iowa – The second-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team recorded its program record eighth consecutive shutout, downing No. 6 Penn State, 4-0, to complete the weekend sweep Sunday afternoon at Grant Field.
The win is the Hawkeyes’ fifth victory over a top-11 ranked opponent this season as the team moves to 10-0 – the program’s best start since 1999.
Senior Ellie Holley led Iowa’s offense with two goals, putting away two of Iowa’s nine shots on goal. Iowa’s defense was once again stellar, holding the Nittany Lions to just three shots on goal.
“She’s an All-American and she’s playing like one of the best right now,” said head coach Lisa Cellucci of Holley. “She has been very consistent game in and game out. We are relying on her a lot and she’s coming up in big moments. It’s fantastic.”
Three minutes in, a couple of dime passes leading to the cage set Holley up for an unassisted goal to put Iowa on the board early.
“It’s huge for momentum and it’s huge for our confidence,” Holley said about scoring early. “Having that 1-0 lead gives us a sigh of relief. It means that we can keep going and that we can go score.”
Off an Iowa corner in the 18th minute, senior Nikki Freeman knocked another goal on a deflection from senior Anthe Nijziel. Five minutes later, Holley boosted the score, 3-0, with her second goal of the game assisted by senior Lokke Stribos.
“If you look at the goals, they’re all simple goals,” Holley said. “I think that’s starting to be what we’re trying to work out offensively is just making those simple goals.”
Up 3-0 after the half, senior Ciara Smith scored off a deflection off a shot from Nijziel in the 46th minute to cap off Iowa’s victory.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH LISA CELLUCCI
“We talked about wanting to level up our performance from Friday and we changed a couple things in our game plan. I’m so proud of the team. Not that I’m shocked, but that’s the No. 6 team in the country and it’s hard to do (beating a team twice). We’re pleased with our performance and trying to be as consistent as possible.”
Senior goalkeeper Grace McGuire recorded three saves en route to her eighth shutout of the season and 15th shutout of her career.
Iowa has not allowed a goal in 515:20 minutes of game time since the second game of the season against No. 1 North Carolina.
Holley leads the team with eight goals on the season – a career-best total.
Iowa has won the last eight meetings over Penn State since the 2017 season.
The Hawkeyes return to action Friday, traveling to New Brunswick, New Jersey, to take on Rutgers at 2 p.m. (CT).