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Slow start dooms field hockey

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | OCTOBER 06, 2014 5:00 AM

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Although a full field hockey game lasts 70 minutes, it was the first 10 that proved to be costly for the Hawkeyes.

The Black and Gold conceded 2 goals in the first seven minutes of Sunday’s clash with Northwestern to hand the Wildcats an eventual 3-1 victory.

The loss, Iowa’s first in conference play, moves the Hawks to 8-3 on the year, 3-1 in the Big Ten.
“First thing first, we need to watch the game film and learn from it, because we did not execute the game plan we came in with,” interim head coach Lisa Cellucci said. “We were really disappointed in a number of things today.”

No. 11 Northwestern limited the Black and Gold to just eight scoring chances and five shots on goal.
Iowa was held to a single goal for just the third time all season.

“It was frustrating all game because we weren’t able to get a sustained attack going,” sophomore Steph Norlander said.

Iowa’s start was wholly uncharacteristic of the way the team usually starts at Grant Field.

The Hawks, who spent most of the first period defending an onslaught of pressure from Northwestern, eventually gave up two goals in a span of under two minutes, including one on a penalty corner.

“I was really disappointed with our defensive presence all over the field today,” Cellucci said. “You can’t give up 10 corners to a good team like that and expect to win.

“We were on our heels the first 20 minutes, and that really set up how the rest of the game played out.”

For a while, it looked as if the Hawks had swung the momentum back in their favor.

A goal by Natalie Cafone and a couple of huge stops from goalkeeper Alex Pecora energized the Black and Gold midway through the first; however, the pressure proved unsustainable.

Northwestern concentrated on Iowa’s forward corps and shut them down, marking Cafone and Norlander all game and preventing them from doing any damage the rest of the second half.

“They really man-marked a lot of our players and shut them down,” Cellucci said. “Between them hammering our side-backs and taking Natalie out of the game, which we knew was going to be their game plan, they completely shut us down.”

It seemed like every pass Iowa attempted either sailed wide of its intended target or was quickly gobbled up by a Northwestern defender, many of who seemed to be just one step ahead of the Hawks.

“So far, this is the best team we’ve faced defensively,” Cafone said. “But the thing is, there are a lot of teams just as good or even better than Northwestern, so we’ve go to make sure we learn from our mistakes.”


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