Hawkeyes Ready For Season Opener

Aug. 26, 2008

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Big Ten/ACC Challenge Central

This Week
The University of Iowa field hockey team (0-0, 0-0) will travel to Winston-Salem, NC to compete in the seventh annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Iowa will face Wake Forest in a non-conference match-up Saturday at 10 a.m. (CT). The Hawkeyes will then battle defending national champion North Carolina in another marquee non-conference match-up. That match will begin at 1 p.m. (CT) Sunday. Both matches will be played at Kentner Stadium. Michigan will also be competing in the Challenge, playing North Carolina Saturday and Wake Forest Sunday.

Wake Forest (0-0, 0-0)
The Demon Deacons head into 2008 with high hopes after a successful 2007 season. Wake Forest finished 2007 with an overall record of 16-6 and finished third in the ACC at 3-2. A team that reached the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament a year ago returns ten starters and 14 letterwinners. Wake Forest is led by Head Coach Jen Averill. She has an all-time record of 235-97-3 in 16 seasons as the coach of the Demon Deacons.

North Carolina (0-0, 0-0)
North Carolina heads into the 2008 season as the defending national champion. The Tar Heels finished 2007 with an undefeated record, going 24-0 overall and 5-0 in ACC play. The defending champs return seven starters and 14 letterwinners. They are coached by Karen Shelton. She is entering her 28th year at North Carolina and holds a record of 448-125-9 all-time at the helm of the Tar Heel program.

The Last Time
The Hawkeyes faced both North Carolina and Wake Forest last season in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Iowa defeated the Demon Deacons 3-0 and fell to the Tar Heels 5-2. Both games were played in Ann Arbor, MI. North Carolina leads the all-time series against Iowa, 18-1, and Wake Forest holds the all-time advantage, 5-3.

Milestones Approaching
The Iowa field hockey program is two victories from 500 all-time. After winning her 100th game as a head coach last season, Head Coach Tracey Griesbaum is three wins from 100 all-time at Iowa with 97.

Coach Excited For `08
“We are really trying to put all the pieces together,” said Head Coach Tracey Griesbaum. “The outlook is really positive. The upperclassmen have done a great job with their leadership roles. We know what we want but we are not willing to look past every day’s opportunities.”

2007 – A Year To Remember
Iowa had quite the season in 2007, finishing 17-4 overall and 4-2 in Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes won their second-straight Big Ten Tournament Championship and reached their 19th NCAA Tournament in program history. Five Hawkeyes were named all-Big Ten. Lauren Pfeiffer, Roz Ellis, Meghan Beamesderfer and Caroline Blaum were all named first team. Each returns for 2008. Additionally, Kadi Sickel was named to the second team. Goalkeeper Lissa Munley won the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. Blaum and Sickel were each named to the Big Ten Tournmant Team, as Blaum took MVP honors. The Hawkeyes gained plenty of national attention also. Pfeiffer was named a first team all-American by Women’sFieldHockey.com and was named second team all-American by NFHCA. Women’sFieldHockey.com named Beamesderfer to their second team squad. In addition, she was named a third-team all-American by NFHCA. Ellis also was named to an all-American squad, landing on the Women’sFieldHockey.coms third team. Six Hawkeyes were named Academic all-Big Ten. Tricia Dean, Katie Naughton, Ellis, Pfeiffer, Munley and Sickel were all named to the squad.

2008 Outlook
2008 looks to be another promising year for the Hawkeyes. Iowa returns 14 letterwinners and 12 players with starting experience.

What Do You Think Coach?
“We are really anxious to get there,” Griesbaum said. “For the seventh straight year, we will be involved in the best weekend of competition in the country. Four of the top ten teams in the country will be competing. We are looking forward to the opportunity and we want to start strong. It will take everything in our power and everyone’s contributions to have a successful weekend. “

Storied Programs
The Hawkeyes, Tar Heels and Demon Deacons have quite the track records. The three teams have combined to win nine national championships. North Carolina leads the bunch with five national championships (1989, `95, `96, `97, `07). Wake Forest has been crowned champs three times, winning three straight from 2002 to 2004. Iowa won the 1986 national championship. Year-in and year-out, these three teams will likely be found playing in the postseason. North Carolina has appeared in 24 NCAA Tournaments. Iowa has appeared in 19 and Wake Forest has reached the tournament nine times.

Schedule Notes
Iowa’s last three NCAA Tournament opponents (2004, `06, `07) are on the season’s schedule. Iowa hosts American (Sept. 5) and Boston (Sept. 21). The Hawkeyes lost to American 2-1 in 2004 on the campus of the University of Maryland. The Black and Gold fell to Boston a year ago, 1-0, in double overtime on the campus of the University of Connecticut. Iowa plays Virginia (Oct. 11) on the campus of Penn State University. The Hawkeyes lost to the Cavaliers 1-0 in 2006 on the Campus of Wake Forest.