Field Hockey: Northwestern slip by Iowa to advance in Big Ten Tournament


Nathan Richards/Daily Senior Staffer

Sophomore Isabel Flens scored Northwestern’s first goal in the team’s 2-1 win over Iowa on Thursday. The Wildcats play Michigan next in the Big Ten semifinals.

Mike Marut, Reporter

Field Hockey

For the first time since 1996, No. 3 Northwestern (14-6, 7-2 Big Ten) advanced past the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament, overcoming No. 6 seed Iowa (11-7, 4-5) 2-1.

With a season-high 10 saves from senior goalkeeper Maddy Carpenter and 2 goals in the first half, the Wildcats beat out the Hawkeyes. Only 36 seconds after the Hawkeyes scored the day’s first goal, sophomore Isabel Flens retaliated with a goal of her own to tie up the game.

“That’s when the most goals are scored in field hockey,” Flens said. “So we got the ball up front immediately after a corner, the goalie came out, and I was able to shoot it right underneath her. It was great.”

After Flens’s goal, neither team scored until less than 30 seconds remained in the first half when junior Caroline Troncelliti put her 10th goal of the season in the net. The sophomore and junior have combined for 20 of NU’s 53 goals on the season, each with 10.

“Honestly I wasn’t even aware of the clock,” Troncelliti said. “We’ve been practicing our quick hits, dribbling the ball when the defense is off guard. I dribbled by a couple of defenders, we’ve been working on taking early shots and getting things off, and I knew the field was bouncy, so I took a shot from the top of the circle and hoped for the best, and it went in.”

With her first double-digit number of saves this season, Carpenter was put to the test in goal. The Hawkeyes outshot the Cats 13-2 in the second half, the most shots NU has allowed in one half since playing Maryland in September. Despite an injury to Iowa’s top player, Natalie Cafone, early in the second half, the Hawkeyes kept the pressure on the Cats defense throughout.

“It was quite the game,” Carpenter said. “They had a lot of corners, some pretty good shots, but I was ready for them. I told my friends going into it that I wasn’t ready for my career to be over, so I did everything I could to make sure we kept going and move on. … We definitely wanted it more.”

Overall, coach Tracey Fuchs was pleased with NU’s performance and not backing down in the face of adversity. This is the first time as the Cats’ coach that Fuchs has brought her team past the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

“Honestly, Iowa is playing as good as anybody in the Big Ten,” Fuchs said. “For us to come out and beat them today says a lot about where our program is right now. We have to work on things, but I couldn’t be happier that we got through that game. We get to celebrate for about an hour here and then we’re going to get to work on Michigan.”

This game marks the first time out of three visits this season NU has come away with a win in Ann Arbor. Next, the Cats will battle the host No. 2 Wolverines on Friday at 2:45 p.m.

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