COLUMBUS, Ohio — Twentieth-ranked Iowa rallied to defeat No. 6 Penn State in overtime on Friday 4-3 at Buckeye Varsity Field in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. The Hawkeyes erased a two-goal deficit, and trailed again by a goal before scoring with no time on the clock to send the game to overtime.
It marks the 10th trip to the tournament championship game for Iowa. The Hawkeyes have claimed five tournament titles in program history (1981, ’94, 2006, ’07, ’08).
“Our team is finally showing what we’ve been capable of all year,” Iowa head coach Tracey Griesbaum said. “No better stage to show everyone what you are made of than in the Big Ten tournament.”
Penn State jumped out to an early lead with a goal in the first minute of play. Jenna Chrismer scored for the Nittany Lions after a failed clearing attempt by the Hawkeyes. Penn State added to its lead at the 22:20 mark of the first half as Taylor Herold scored a one-timer off a feed from Whitney Reddig.
Iowa fought back at the start of the second half as sophomore Natalie Cafone put the Hawkeyes on the board at the 46:09 mark in the second half to cut the score in half. Cafone broke away from the defense and beat the Penn State goalkeeper low and to the right for her 20th goal of the season.
The Hawkeyes stayed on the offensive as roughly 11 minutes later the Hawkeyes were awarded a penalty stroke. It was up to Marike Stribos to tie the game for the Hawkeyes and she converted, beating the Nittany Lion goalkeeper low and to the right.
“Being down two goals against a team like Penn State is never fun,” Griesbaum said. “We knew if we kept working hard, eventually we would get a break.”
With 1:11 remaining, Penn State was awarded a penalty stroke after Iowa illegally stopped a shot off a Penn State penalty corner. Brittany Grzywacz took the penalty stroke and scored to give the Nittany Lions a 3-2 lead with just more than a minute to play.
The Hawkeyes maintained their composure after the go-ahead goal and forced a penalty corner with seconds remaining. By the time senior Niki Schultheis put the ball in play off the penalty corner, time had expired. Junior Dani Hemeon received the pass, avoided several Nittany Lion defenders, and scored on the backhand with no time left in the game to send the match into overtime.
With all the momentum on its side, Iowa controlled the overtime period from the start. The Hawkeyes took possession from the Nittany Lions and passed to Cafone who took care of the rest. Cafone flew past the Penn State defense and scored her second goal of the game 2:26 into overtime to send the Hawkeyes to Sunday’s championship game.
“We dominated overtime,” Griesbaum said. “I don’t think Penn State ever crossed the 50 yard line. Total team effort; I’m proud of the way we played.”
Iowa, the No. 5 seed, will face No. 3 seed Michigan State on Sunday in the championship of the Big Ten tournament.