Iowa field hockey rallies to defeat Ohio State; Griesbaum nabs 150th win


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Iowa was in danger on Sunday of dropping its first game at Grant Field since Sept. 25, 2011. The No. 11 Hawkeyes had been battered and bruised during their matchup with the No. 18 Buckeyes and needed inspiration before even thinking about coming back from a 1-goal deficit.

But with fewer than 10 minutes remaining in the match, Jessica Barnett delivered the tying goal and brought the Grant Field crowd to its feet. The senior followed a penalty corner pass from Niki Schultheis and a perfect catch and set from Geena Lesiak by maneuvering the ball to the right of the penalty circle and slapping a waist-high shot to the back of the Buckeye net. The senior defender — whose score was her sixth of the year — planted her feet and screamed in jubilation. Iowa (8-2, 2-0 Big Ten) had scored the first goal of what would become an incredible 2-1 comeback win over Ohio State (8-4, 1-1).

“The whole game overall was an uphill battle,” Barnett said. “We played not as poised as we’re used to playing. In that moment, we really needed a goal, and we capitalized on it.” Barnett’s equalizer provided the necessary boost Iowa needed to complete what was seemingly impossible for more than an hour of the match.

Ohio State dictated the pace of play for all but the final eight minutes. The Buckeyes’ blistering offense caused problems for the stout Iowa defense, and they found holes that helped to penetrate the layered backline. The Buckeye offense, which had recorded 31 goals during a six-game win streak before Sunday’s affair, put Iowa on its heels. Freshman Peanut Johnson rattled in the first goal of the afternoon in the 28th minute to give Ohio State a 1-0 lead.

It was the first time all season Iowa trailed while playing at home. “We had to make a lot of changes,” head coach Tracey Griesbaum said. “It was the spectacular fashion that I will always remember. Everyone really stepped up.”

Not even the head coach, who reached her 150th win as the Hawkeye head coach on Sunday, could’ve guessed that each of Iowa’s goals would come with some help from the back-line. Less than four minutes after Barnett’s goal, the Hawks received their sixth penalty corner of the game. The pass came out to junior defender Marike Stribos, who let go of a fierce shot to the upper-right corner of the net.

Ohio State goalkeeper Emma Voelker’s deflection came right out to fellow defender Lesiak. The senior slapped a whistling strike that nicked Sarah Drake’s stick. The deflection rolled into the net and the rally was complete.

“It felt nice,” Drake said about the go-ahead score. “We needed that goal. It really didn’t matter who it came from as long as it went in.” The win over Ohio State means Iowa is the only remaining undefeated team in Big Ten play. This is the first time the Hawkeyes opened their conference schedule 2-0 since the 2008 season — a season that ended with Iowa in the NCAA Final Four.

But ask Griesbaum about what it means, and she’ll point to it being no more important than the game that comes next. “That’s it. It’s just 2-0,” she said. “This is the big time. This is Big Ten play … you have to bring your heart, your soul, and your A-game every day.”

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