Tough loss for Iowa

Sept. 5, 2006

By Tony Gatz The Daily Iowan

Iowa City, IA (CSTV U-WIRE) — On a rainy day better suited for reading indoors, the Iowa field-hockey team took the field with one goal: Beat No. 3 ranked Duke and even Iowa’s season record at 2-2.

However, the Hawkeyes fell short in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Blue Devils.

No. 12 ranked Iowa opened its home schedule with a 5-1 victory over unranked Kent State on Sept. 1. After allowing a Kent goal in the first half, the Hawkeyes dominated the second half with four uncontested goals, and they outshot the Golden Flashes, 30-2, on the day.

On Sunday, Iowa had the opportunity to upset Duke at Grant Field, and for the first 40 minutes, it appeared the Hawkeyes might pull it off.

Iowa’s first two penalty corners led to goals from sophomore Caitlin McCurdy, one in the first half and another four minutes into the second.

Lead or no lead, the team knew its work was far from over and had to come out firing in the second half, said McCurdy.

“We came out with an attitude like it was a whole new game, as we usually do,” the sophomore said. “It was nothing-nothing to us, and we went out on the field.”

McCurdy’s two goals were all Iowa could muster. Those two, along with the one goal and two assists McCurdy scored against Kent, earned her the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week Award – the third of her career.

After surrendering two second-half scores to the Blue Devils, Iowa had an opportunity to seal the deal in the final minute of play, when a penalty corner was awarded, but the Hawks failed to convert, sending the game into sudden-death overtime.

Four minutes into the six-on-six-player overtime, Duke senior Hilary Linton scored an unassisted goal, sending rain-soaked fans to dryer ground – and Iowa players to contemplate Duke’s come-from-behind victory.

Kadi Sickel, who assisted on both Iowa goals, noticed that Duke tightened up its play late in the game.

“[The Blue Devils] were just really sustaining their attack,” the junior back said. “There weren’t a lot of holes in their offense, so it was hard for us to move the ball up.”

With the first Blue Devil goal, momentum shifted in favor of Duke, McCurdy said.

“We got caught in a scramble in the circle, and they got one,” she added. “Usually in our game – and lots of sports – once you get scored on, you’re at your weakest.”

After sitting in the driver’s seat the majority of the game, late match miscues caused a lot of grief for head coach Tracey Griesbaum.

“This one hurts. It hurts badly,” the coach said. “When you have a two-goal lead, then a one-goal lead with eight minutes [left], you have a goal called back, and then you’re in overtime. It hurts.”

Iowa has a chance to get to .500 this weekend when it travels to Pennsylvania for games against Villanova and West Chester. The Hawkeyes feature seven players from the state of Pennsylvania, and Griesbaum is a West Chester graduate – she thinks the team will feel right at home on the East Coast.

“We’re going to take the positives out of this and go on the road next weekend,” the coach said. “We’re all pretty much from the Philadelphia area, so were going to do some damage there.”

(C) 2006 The Daily Iowan via CSTV U-WIRE

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