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Editor’s note: This is 19th in a series counting down the Top 50 moments in Iowa Hawkeyes women’s athletics history in the 50 days leading up to the 50th anniversary of Title IX in June.
After going to a Big Ten championship game and the NCAA Tournament in 2018 — both for the first time since the firing of Tracy Griesbaum that left the program in turmoil — Iowa field hockey went into 2019 with “super high expectations.”
“Our goal was certainly to win a Big Ten championship,” head coach Lisa Cellucci said.
Iowa first broke its 15-year drought without a Big Ten regular-season championship and then made history as the first team in program history to win the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles in the same year.
The Hawkeyes secured the first title with a 1-0 defeat at No. 8 Michigan.
“The team was just so ecstatic and so excited,” Cellucci said. “But what was so cool was right after that, they hoisted the trophy — I’ll never forget it — and they were like, ‘Let’s go! Goal No. 1 complete.’”
A week later, Goal No. 2 was complete with another Big Ten trophy to hoist. It wasn’t easy, though.
After cruising past No. 22 Ohio State and outlasting No. 14 Northwestern, Iowa was in a defensive battle with Penn State, the host of the tournament. It went into overtime at 0-0.
Forward Maddy Murphy gave the Hawkeyes a pep talk about how they “have trained for this” and “will win this game.” Then 23 seconds into overtime, Iowa won with a Murphy goal.
“Penn State never even touched the ball,” Cellucci said proudly.
Iowa didn’t exactly have the most favorable draw in the NCAA Tournament that year. The Hawkeyes had to play No. 8 Duke and then No. 1 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.
They beat Duke before falling to North Carolina, coming up one game short of a Final Four appearance.
“We felt that 2019 team absolutely could have been playing and should have been playing in the Final Four,” Cellucci said.
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