Hawkeyes Return Home To Face VCU, Stanford

Sept. 8, 2009

Complete Release in PDF Format

The University of Iowa field hockey team (1-3) returns to Iowa City this weekend. Iowa, the defending three-time Big Ten Tournament champion and 2008 NCAA Final Four participant, will host Virginia Commonwealth and Stanford. The Black and Gold, ranked ninth nationally, will play Virginia Commonwealth Friday at 7 p.m. The Hawkeyes will then face Stanford Sunday at 7 p.m. In addition, Virginia Commonwealth and Stanford will square off Saturday at 7 p.m. All games will be played at Grant Field. Admission is free.

Virginia Commonwealth is 3-0 on the season. They have defeated Miami University, Saint Joseph’s and Penn. The Rams return six starters and 11 letterwinners from a team that finished 5-14 overall last year and 1-7 in Colonial Athletic Association play. They are led by third-year Head Coach Kelly McQuade. She is 13-27 all time at the helm of the program.

Stanford is receiving votes in the NFHCA preseason rankings. They are 3-0 on the season. They have defeated Missouri State, Northeastern and Kent State. The Cardinal returns nine starters and 15 letterwinners from last year’s squad that finished 9-11 overall and 4-2 in NorPac conference play. Stanford is coached by former Hawkeye Lesley Irvine. In six years at the helm of the program, she is 52-68.

The Hawkeyes have not faced VCU since 1994, winning 4-3. Iowa won at Stanford last season, 3-2. The victory marked the 100th career win at Iowa for Head Coach Tracey Griesbaum. The Black and Gold are 2-0 all-time against VCU and 12-2 against the Cardinal.

Seven freshmen have seen action this season for the Hawkeyes. Geena Lesiak, Sarah Drake, Jess Barnett, Grace Dolfi, Hailey Chadbourne, Sarah Pedrick and Kathleen McGraw all saw game action. Lesiak recorded her first career goal Aug. 30 against Wake Forest. Additionally, McGraw saw her first career game action in goal Aug. 31 against North Carolina, playing the second half. McGraw recorded her first career win Sunday against Boston. Drake leads the Black and Gold in goals scored (3). She recorded her first career goals with two Saturday at UMass and added another Sunday against the Terriers. She was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for her efforts.

The Hawkeyes are ranked ninth in the preseason NFHCA rankings. Iowa will play ten of the NFHCA top 20 this season. In addition, the Hawkeyes will play five of the teams receiving votes in the latest poll. The Big Ten Conference currently has five teams ranked in the top 20. Michigan State sits at eighth in the latest rankings. Joining the Spartans are the Hawkeyes (No. 9), Penn State (No. 11), Ohio State (No. 18) and Michigan (No. 19). All Big Ten teams are at least receiving votes as both Northwestern and Indiana received votes. The Hawkeyes have been ranked in the top 20 of the NFHCA Division I Coaches Poll for 21 straight weeks dating back to 2006. The Hawkeyes have yet to fall out of the top 10 of the poll since the start of 2007.

Iowa had quite the season in 2008, finishing 18-5 overall and 4-2 in Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes won their third-straight Big Ten Tournament Championship, reached their 20th NCAA Tournament in program history and advanced to the NCAA Final Four for the 11th time in program history. The Black and Gold defeated nine nationally-ranked opponents during the season and Head Coach Tracey Griesbaum was named NFHCA West Region Coach of the Year.

Five Hawkeyes were named all-Big Ten. Lauren Pfeiffer, Roz Ellis and Caroline Blaum were all named to the first team. Meghan Beamesderfer and Lissa Munley were named to the second team. Pfeiffer and Tricia Dean were each named to the Big Ten Tournament Team, as Pfeiffer took MVP honors.Six Hawkeyes were named West Region all-Americans. First team honorees included Blaum, Ellis, Munley, Pfeiffer and Beamesderfer. Katie Naughton was named to the second team. Pfeiffer and Ellis were named to the NCAA Tournament all-tournament team for their efforts in Iowa’s run to the Final Four.

Additionally, three Hawkeyes garnered national all-American honors. Blaum, now an assistant coach on the Iowa staff, and Pfeiffer, now a volunteer coach at Iowa, were named to the first team. Ellis was named to the second team. Pfeiffer also won the Big Ten Medal of Honor and was named a finalist for the Honda Award.

The Iowa field hockey team appeared on the Big Ten Network more than any other conference school last season – six times. Iowa’s games at Michigan and against Penn State will both be televised by the Big Ten Network this season. Both games will be shown on a tape-delayed basis in Big Ten Network (HD).