Hawkeyes Set To Kick Off Season

Aug. 25, 2004


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This Week The University of Iowa field hockey team will open the 2004 season at the third annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge, August 28-29 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Hawkeyes will take on two-time defending NCAA Champion Wake Forest in the season opener at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, then battle North Carolina at 11 a.m. Sunday. All times are Central. Looking Back The Iowa field hockey team enjoyed another solid season in 2003, posting a 11-8 record with a 2-4 mark in the ultra-tough Big Ten Conference. The Hawkeyes started fast, winning eight of their first ten games and achieving a No. 6 ranking before a late season fade cost them a return to the NCAA Regional Tournament. NFHCA Poll The Hawkeyes finished last season ranked 16th by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. The first poll of the 2004 season will be released on September 7, 2004. The lastest polls during the 2004 season can be viewed at the NFHCA Website, www.nfhca.org. They Weren’t Cupcakes The Hawkeyes played a very difficult schedule last year, playing nine ranked teams. The Hawkeyes are 3-5 against ranked teams this season. In fact, every team that defeated Iowa, except for Indiana, was ranked in the NFHCA top 20 at some time in 2003. On Wake Forest The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are the two-time defending NCAA Champions and were 22-1 last year. They welcome back seven starters off last year’s team, including top scorer and all-American Kelly Dostal. The Demon Deacons will be without all-American goalkeeper Katie Ridd and three-time all-American Kelly Doton. They are coached by Jennifer Averill, who is in her 13th season. On North Carolina The North Carolina Tarheels return all 11 starters from last season, where they went 16-6. Rachel Dawson, sister of Iowa’s Sarah Dawson, led UNC in scoring last year with 19 goals. They are coached by Karen Shelton, who is in her 24th year. Welcome Back The Hawkeyes will have a strong nucelus returning from last year’s team, including seven starters. Leaving Big Shoes The Hawkeyes will have some big holes to fill in their lineup with the graduation of a strong senior class from last season. Pattie Gillern, Lindsay Miller, Gina Palma and Jess Zosky will all have to be replaced this season. Gillern’s loss may be felt the most, as she led the Hawkeyes in points (32), goals, (15), game-winning goals (5) and shots (96) last season on her way to earning third team NFHCA All-America honors. She was also a first team all-Big Ten and all-Region pick. Miller and Zosky both started all 19 games last year, while Palma was an undergraduate assistant after receiving a medical disqualification. The Wall If anyone had any doubts about the talent of Hawkeye goalkeeper Barb Weinberg, those thoughts were put to rest last season. The Louisville, KY, native earned her second-straight first team all-Big Ten award and was a second team NFHCA all-America pick. She has a .803 save percentage and a 1.35 goals against average. Six of her 11 wins were shutouts. Weinberg will be the anchor of the Hawkeye defense this season, and is the only goalkeeper on the Iowa roster. Defensive Against Deacons Senior Lauren Stiver must save her best for the best, as evident by her play against Wake Forest last season. The all-Big Ten back made a pair of defensive saves in each game against the Demon Deacons. Leading the Attack Senior forward Sarah Dawson will be looked at to lead the offensive attack for the Hawkeyes this season, as she is the team’s top returning scorer. The Berlin, NJ, native recorded 11 points on four goals and three assists on her way to second team all-Big Ten laurels last year. New Faces The Hawkeyes will welcome aboard a very talented class of five freshmen. Caroline Blaum, Whitney Raffo, Katie Rhodes, Kadi Sickel and Kat Vella all join the team after stellar prep careers. Blaum, from Wilkes-Barre, PA, was a second team NFHCA High School All-American and a first team regional all-American. Raffo, from Chatham, NJ, was a two-time first team all-conference, all-county and all-south Jersey selection, as well as the conference MVP as a senior. Rhodes, a defender/midfielder from Zionsville, PA, was a 2003 first team all-area pick, and helped her Emmaus High School team to the 2001 Pennsylvania High School Championship. Sickel, from Plaistow, NH, was a first team NFHCA High School All-American and the New Hampshire Player of the Year as a senior. Vella, a midfielder/forward from Sydney, Australia, was the captain and top goal scorer for her club team in the Sydney Women’s League. Injury Report Iowa will be without the services of starting sophomore back Heather Schnepf, who tore her ACL during spring practice. Her return date is unknown, although it is possible she will play this season. Schnepf emerged as a solid contributor during a great freshman year, leading the team with five defensive saves. Australian Import Freshman Kat Vella is just the third international player to play for the Hawkeyes. The last was Lesley Irvine, who wore the Black and Gold in 1999 after coming here from England to attend graduate school. Junior Debbie Birrell grew up in Zimbabwe before moving to Kentucky in 2000 and becoming an American citizen. Sisterly Love Hawkeye ties always seem to run deep. This season, two seniors are the younger sisters of former Iowa all-Americans. Tammy Leister is the younger sister of 2002 all-American Tiffany Leister, while Sarah Dawson is the younger sister of 2000 all-American Natalie Dawson. Hawkeye Ties When the Hawkeyes face a Big Ten foe, more than likely they will be facing a coach with University of Iowa roots. Four of the seven head coaches in the Big Ten either played or was an assistant at Iowa before taking her respective job. Michigan State’s Michelle Madison (1982-89), Indiana’s Amy Robertson (89-92) and our own Tracey Griesbaum (92-99) were all assistants with the Hawkeyes before being named to their head jobs. Michigan head coach Marcia Pankratz played for Iowa from 1982-85. The Head Coach Tracey Griesbaum returns to the helm of the Hawkeye field hockey program for her fifth year. She has done a good job rebuilding the Iowa program, recording a 45-29 record. Before taking the head coaching job at Iowa, she was with United States Field Hockey. Griesbaum not only served as a full-time assistant, but was the head coach for the United States Under-21 Team. She led the Under-21 team to a second-place finish at the Pan American Junior Championships and a spot in the 2001 Junior World Cup. Her work was good enough to earn her the 2000 United States Field Hockey Coach of the Year award. Before taking the job with USA Field Hockey, Griesbaum was an assistant coach at Iowa for eight years. The Assistants Former Hawkeye Lisa Cellucci and Carla Tagliente will serve as the assistant coaches this season. Cellucci was a four-year starter in the cage for Iowa. From 1995-98, Cellucci was a three-time All-American, four-time Regional All-American and a four-time All-Big Ten selection. After graduation, Cellucci was an assistant coach at James Madison, where she helped the Dukes to a 15-7 record. Tagliente was a four-time all-America selection for Maryland from 1997-2000, earning first team laurels her final three years. She led the Terps to three ACC Titles and the 1999 NCAA Championship. She was also a two-time Broderick Award finalist and was a member of the U.S. National team from 1997-2003.