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Hawkeyes look for another Big Ten win this weekend
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Oct. 4, 2005

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Hawkeyes Home This Weekend Against Penn State

Iowa finishes up a three-game home stand this weekend against the Penn State Nittany Lions. The 12th-ranked Hawkeyes (8-4, 1-1) and the number six Nittany Lions (12-1,1-0) square off at Grant Field at noon.

Iowa Holds on for 4-3 Victory Over Northwestern

The Hawkeyes had a mid-week game today against the Northwestern Wildcats. This was a non-conference game between the two schools; their conference game will be on October 14 in Evanston.

Despite sporadic play on both defense and offense, Iowa escaped with a 4-3 victory over the unranked Wildcats. Senior Debbie Birrell started the Hawkeyes off with a score three minutes into the game, but the Wildcats tied it just a few minutes later on a goal by Jill Putnam. That was the end of scoring for the first half as the two teams combined for just eight more shots and went into the halftime break knotted up 1-1.

Iowa's Caitlin McCurdy scored a corner shot goal at the 43:04 mark and the Hawkeyes went up 3-1 two minutes later on a goal by fellow freshman Lauren Pfeiffer. The Hawkeyes put on the cruise control for a bit, but were jolted back to reality when Northwestern's Meghan Small closed the gap to 3-2 later in the second half.

The Hawkeyes offense was sparked again when junior Kara Zappone scored her fifth goal of the season to put Iowa ahead 4-2. A second goal by Jill Putnam cut Iowa's lead down to 4-3, but time expired before Northwestern could score again to send the game into overtime.

The box score reflects how close the game was. Iowa took 18 shots to Northwestern's 15, and both teams had eight corners. Freshman goalie Lissa Munley had three saves for the Hawkeyes and gave up three goals. The Wildcats Sherri-Anne Nyberg allowed four goals and had five saves.

Hawkeyes Earn Second Big Ten Win Over Michigan State

Last Saturday, the then No. 14 University of Iowa field hockey team moved to 1-1 in the Big Ten (7-4 overall) after a dramatic 3-2 victory over then ninth-ranked Michigan State.

Six minutes into the first half, Michigan State had an opportunity to score on a corner shot, but Iowa's Lissa Munley had a huge save that set the tone for the game. Iowa's offense then rifled off four consecutive shots, but didn't find the net until 20 minutes into the game. Sophomore Kadi Sickel put the Hawkeyes up 1-0 on a rebound score on a corner shot and the score held up until the mid-game break.

Sickel was in the right place at the right time again in the second half on another corner shot and her fourth goal of the season gave the Hawkeyes a 2-0 advantage. Iowa didn't celebrate for long, however, as the Spartans cut the lead in half on a corner shot. Munley stopped Michigan State's first attempt, but Ashley Pernicano found the net on a deflected shot. Minutes later, Michelle Huynh-Ba scored on another Spartan corner to tie the game 2-2.

With the score knotted and time winding down, Caitlin McCurdy came off the bench for the Hawkeyes with a fresh pair of legs. The freshman forward took a pass from a teammate, maneuvered to the top of the arc and slammed home the go-ahead goal to give Iowa a 3-2 lead. In the last six minutes of the game, Michigan State desperately tried to send the game into overtime, but each time was denied by the Hawkeye defense.

The Hawkeyes took 14 shots in the contest and had four corner shots. Sickel was a perfect 2-2 on shot efficiency in the game and McCurdy took five shots and scored once. Four other Iowa players also had opportunities to score.

Munley picked up her seventh win of the season and added four saves to her season total.

Penn State

The series between Iowa and Penn State stands at 21-14-2 heading into this weekend's game. In last season's meeting in University Park, Iowa edged Penn State 2-1 in double overtime.

Penn State improved their season record to 12-1 and 1-0 in the Big Ten after a 3-2 victory over Michigan last Saturday. The Nittany Lion's leading scorers, Annelise Legel and Shaun Banta, each scored in the contest.

Legel, a junior forward, has scored 11 goals and assisted three more this season. She also has five game winning goals in 2005.

Banta is a sophomore forward with one assist and 11 goals, including one game winner, through 13 games.

Megan Akstin is the starting goalie for Penn State. The New York native has allowed only 11 goals in 13 games for a measly 1.07 goals against average. She has 48 saves for a .814 saves percentage and her 12-1 record includes five shutouts.

Penn State Charlene Morett returns for her 19th season as head coach of the Nittany Lions field hockey program. In 18 years at Penn State, she has compiled a 293-104-8 record for a .733 winning percentage. She has lead her squads to 16 NCAA appearances, including a championship appearance against Wake Forest in 2002. Under her guidances, the Nittany Lions have picked up three regular season Big Ten titles and four tournament titles.

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