Senior Sofia Southam scored two goals, including the game-winner early in the fourth quarter, as the No. 2-ranked Michigan field hockey team edged No. 1 Iowa 3-2 in the Big Ten tournament semifinals on Friday afternoon (Nov. 5) at Rutgers' Bauer Track and Field Hockey Complex. It was the second No. 1 vs. No. 2 meeting between the programs this season; Michigan avenged its shootout loss from the regular season.
With the win, Michigan advances to the Big Ten tournament championship game for the 15th time in 24 seasons. The Wolverines, who are seeking their eighth tournament title in program history and second in a row, will face either host No. 3 Rutgers or No. 7 Penn State at noon on Sunday (Nov. 7), live on the Big Ten Network.
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Southam scored the game-winning goal early in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, at 45:38, after crashing in on the Hawkeye cage — literally — from the left baseline. She received the ball on the Iowa 25, carried it into the circle and to the left baseline, where she slipped it through Grace McGuire's pads before banging hard into the Iowa goalkeeper. It was her 21st goal of the season — the most for a Wolverine player since Rachael Mack also posted 21 goals in 2013.
Southam, the 2021 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, had a hand in all three Michigan goals. UM opened scoring at 6:39 in the first quarter off a tip in front from sophomore Lora Clarke, but it was Southam who created the scoring chance from the arc. Her circle entry was deflected back to her, and she rocketed a shot out of the air and on goal. Clarke, camped out in front, got her stick on it and deflected it past McGuire for her fifth goal of the season.
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Iowa evened the score just seconds later, at 7:14, on a deflection in from the right post, but Michigan answered back quickly itself, converting on its first penalty corner of the game at 12:29. Southam nailed the direct shot, finding the nearside corner from the left side of the arc. Junior Nina Apoola, the shootout clincher in Thursday's (Nov. 4) quarterfinal win, earned the assist on the insert.
The Hawkeyes knotted it up off a corner of their own at 37:03 in the third quarter. With Michigan shorthanded after a green card, Iowa intercepted a pass deep inside the Wolverine 25, carried it into the circle from the right and beat senior goalkeeper Anna Spieker on the short side.
Michigan withstood a handful of quality attacks after reclaiming the lead early in the fourth quarter — Iowa outshot the Wolverines 4-1 and out-cornered them 3-0 in the final frame — including a mad flurry inside its 25 over the last 15 seconds. Spieker earned two saves in the contest, both on back-to-back Iowa corners in the fourth.