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Field Hockey: Northwestern sweeps No. 2 Iowa in final weekend of regular season play

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Bente Baekers and the NU defense dominated against the Hawkeyes

After getting swept by Rutgers last weekend, the Northwestern field hockey team capitalized on the chance to close out the regular season with a statement against the highly touted Iowa Hawkeyes.

Both teams were dominant on the defensive end this past Thursday, leading to a scoreless first quarter. However, Iowa got on the board first with a fast break into the circle in the first minutes of the second quarter. Northwestern’s Bente Baekers evened the score later in the quarter after receiving a long pass up the field from Lauren Wadas, and the teams headed into the second half tied at one goal apiece. Baekers quickly netted her second goal of the contest with a reverse shot through the Iowa goalkeeper's legs to put the ‘Cats on top. Early in the fourth quarter, Iowa appeared to have evened the score, but the point was ultimately overturned, as the officials declared a foot foul had occurred prior to the goal. With just 12 seconds left to play, Iowa challenged a call off of a corner, which led to five additional seconds being added to the game clock. Northwestern’s defensive unit held strong and was able to fend off the Hawkeyes, earning the team’s highest-ranked win since defeating No. 2 Maryland in 2014.

With the help of stellar defense from goalkeepers Florien Marcussen and Annabel Skubisz, Northwestern was able to shut out the Hawkeyes in its final regular-season matchup on Saturday. The fast paced, back-and-forth game saw both teams firing off multiple shots early in the first quarter. The battle continued throughout the first half, but neither squad was able to capitalize on the multitude of shots they unleashed on the goal. The teams remained scoreless until late in the third quarter, when Baekers tallied her tenth goal of the season and second game-winner of the weekend with a reverse shot to the far post. Anchored by Christen Conley and Skubisz, Northwestern hunkered down on defense in the final quarter of the contest. Skubisz recorded two blocks and a save to solidify the ‘Cats’ victory.

Northwestern will travel to Iowa City this week to play in the Big Ten Tournament, beginning with a rematch against No. 6 Rutgers on April 21.