Field Hockey: Wildcats prepare for Iowa in hopes of getting back to .500 in conference play

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Field Hockey: Wildcats prepare for Iowa in hopes of getting back to .500 in conference play

Junior Isabel Flens stares down the ballhandler. The Cats are looking for a win against No. 18 Iowa to get back to .500 in Big Ten play.

Junior Isabel Flens stares down the ballhandler. The Cats are looking for a win against No. 18 Iowa to get back to .500 in Big Ten play.

Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Junior Isabel Flens stares down the ballhandler. The Cats are looking for a win against No. 18 Iowa to get back to .500 in Big Ten play.

Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Junior Isabel Flens stares down the ballhandler. The Cats are looking for a win against No. 18 Iowa to get back to .500 in Big Ten play.

Dan Waldman, Reporter

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Coming off a loss to unranked Indiana on Sunday, Northwestern will look to get back to .500 in Big Ten play this weekend.

The No. 14 Wildcats (8-4, 1-2 Big Ten) host No. 18 Iowa (7-4, 1-1) on Friday in the Cats’ first ranked matchup since falling to then No. 10 Maryland (8-3, 3-0). Similarly to NU, Iowa also suffered a loss to the Hoosiers (5-4, 2-0 Big Ten).

“I think (Iowa is) one of our biggest rivalries in the Big Ten,” coach Tracey Fuchs said. “We just need to come out and play our game. I think after a tough loss last week our kids are going to be ready to go … We need to keep possession of the ball, attack the outsides and really make do of our opportunities for our shots and our second shots.”

The Cats got off to a slow start against Indiana, and the team struggled to capitalize on their scoring opportunities. But NU does have the advantage over Iowa in that the Cats attempted twice as many shots on goal as Iowa when the teams played the Hoosiers.

Despite getting plenty of shots off throughout the game, NU never led in their matchup, but the players recognize the importance of getting ahead early.

“I think playing ahead gives us a lot of momentum especially when we are ahead early,” senior midfielder Caroline Troncelliti said. “I think it really sets the tone for the whole game and the pace that we want to play at. It’s almost like you’re in more of a controlling situation instead of playing catchup.”

A major story of the Cats’ defeat in Bloomington was their inability to finish their penalty corners. The team went 0-11 on corners, including a crucial missed opportunity at the end of the game.

Fuchs spent practice working on corners and implementing new plays into NU’s repertoire. These simple adjustments may be the difference for the Cats as they look to get back in the win column.

“We were really really disappointed and it hurt,” Fuchs said. “That one stuck with us for a little bit longer, but looking back at the game, we had some of our best play of the season. We limited them to four corners and limited shots. Now, they executed and it’s nobody’s fault, but we just need to make sure that we capitalize on our attack side come Friday.”

Junior midfielder and NU’s leading scorer, Isabel Flens, said the team is taking the remainder of their schedule one game at a time. She said that she wants to use the Indiana loss to fuel the team against Iowa and that for now she is only focusing on Friday.

“We just want to win every game,” Flens said. “Of course it’s hard after a loss to come back and stay focused on that we are a good team, and that we can beat Iowa. We have to make sure we don’t focus too much on just to win but also keeping composed and playing our own game and making sure that we play together.”

Correction: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story misstated the day Northwestern lost to Indiana. The game was on Sunday. The Daily regrets the error.

Email: danielwaldman2019@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @dan_waldman

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