Iowa Hosts Louisville in Friday Exhibition

Aug. 19, 2011

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa field hockey team will open its 2011 campaign today, hosting Louisville in an exhibition at Grant Field. The match will begin at noon. At the conclusion of the match, the team will hold its annual media day.

Iowa opens the regular season with the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Hawkeyes will face Wake Forest on Aug. 27, at 1:30 p.m. and will then battle North Carolina on Aug. 28, at 1:30 p.m. Both times are Central.

For a preview of the 2011 Hawkeyes, find a position-by-position breakdown below.


The Iowa field hockey team brings back a number of returnees in 2011, with nine starters and 14 letterwinners.

“We are going to have a high level of competition at every position,” said Head Coach Tracey Griesbaum. “It is exciting to know that we have skilled players in every line. We will look to improve our game at a steady rate throughout the entire season.”

Griesbaum is now in her 12th season at the helm of the storied program. She has led the Hawkeyes to three Big Ten Tournament Championships (2006, 2007, 2008), one regular season Big Ten Championship, four NCAA Tournament appearances and the 2008 NCAA Final Four. Griesbaum has produced 15 national All-Americans, 41 regional All-Americans, 41 All-Big Ten selections, three Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award winners and two Big Ten Freshman of the Year award winners.

Griesbaum is joined by Associate Head Coach Lisa Cellucci, a former Hawkeye All-American and the all-time saves leader at Iowa, who is also in her 12th season. Meghan Beamesderfer, an All-American at Iowa in 2009, returns for her first year as the assistant coach. Gabby Quiggle is the team’s strength and conditioning coach.

“I am thrilled to have such a talented, energetic and loyal coaching staff,” said Griesbaum. “Lisa returns for her 12th season as a member of the coaching staff. Lisa is in the upper echelon of goalkeeping coaches in the country. She was an All-American goalkeeper for the Hawkeyes and we are fortunate to have her expertise and enthusiasm.

“We are thrilled to have Meg back in our program. She is a Hawkeye through-and-through. She left a lasting impression on this program as a student-athlete and now I am looking forward to working with her as part of the coaching staff. Meg’s passion and work ethic did not go unnoticed as a student-athlete and now those qualities will be transferred into the coaching profession.”


Becca Spengler, Sarah Drake, and Kim Scraper will be the top returnees on our forward line,” said Griesbaum, who enters this season with 127 wins at Iowa. “They possess good speed, solid fundamentals and a strong understanding of offensive tactics. They have all gained valuable game experience this summer and we will count on them for offensive production and sound leadership. Becca has been voted captain for the third year in a row.”

Spengler, the team’s lone senior, has played in 47 career games, including 36 starts, and her experience will be relied upon. Spengler, a member of the Senior California team at the 2011 High Performance National Championship, was a member of Iowa’s 2008 NCAA Final Four team.

Drake has been outstanding in her first two years in the program. The junior was named second team All-Big Ten and academic All-Big Ten in 2010 as a sophomore. She has started all 36 career games. The Ann Arbor, Mich. native has accumulated 22 career points, including 10 goals. A two-time NFHCA National Academic Squad member, Drake was named to the U.S.A. U21 Junior National Squad in July.

Scraper returns for her sophomore season after appearing in all 17 games as a freshman. She started six contests and ranked second on the team with five goals and 10 points. Scraper, who hails from West Vancouver, Canada, was selected to compete on the `Canada A’ team at the 4 Nation Classic this summer.

Kelsey Mitchell will most likely play both forward and midfield this season,” said Griesbaum. “Her great sense of the game and crafty skills will be important for the success of the offense. Aubrey Coleman will also play in the forward and midfield line.”

Mitchell and Coleman were two of seven true freshmen to see action in 2010. Mitchell played in all 17 games and started 15. She notched 10 shots and recorded one goal. Mitchell was a member of the 2011 Midwest Junior High Performance team.

Coleman saw action in 16 contests and made two starts. An alternate on the 2011 Midwest Junior High Performance team, she recorded four shots during her rookie campaign.

“Freshmen Cori Allen and Sara Watro will provide a lot of spark to our forward line,” said Griesbaum. “Cori is a great eliminator and can set-up scoring chances with her skill and decision making.”

Allen, one of four Hawkeyes from Eastern Regional High School in New Jersey, joining Brittany Evangelisti, Geena Lesiak and Kelsey Mitchell, had her numbered retired by the high school.

Watro, from Audubon, Pa., earned first team all-conference honors in 2010 as the team captain. Both Watro and Allen will be counted on to contribute to the Hawkeye offense.


Geena Lesiak will be our main returning midfielder,” said Griesbaum. “Geena has two years of experience and has also had valuable minutes playing in the midfield this summer with the U.S. field hockey program. She will be called upon to make plays on both sides of the ball and be effective in her management of the game. Geena also has vital roles in all of our set pieces.”

Lesiak, a junior who hails from Voorhees, N.J., has started 34 of 36 career games played. A member of the 2011 Midwest Junior High Performance team, she was selected to the 2011 Junior National Team Camp. Lesiak started all 17 contests in 2010, recording four points. She was an academic All-Big Ten honoree.

Marike Stribos and Aubrey Coleman are sophomores who will be able to contribute to the midfield,” said Griesbaum. “Marike has strong fundamentals. Her ability to distribute the ball from the backfield or midfield will be key to Hawkeye success.”

Stribos, from Brussels, Belgium, had a solid rookie campaign in 2010 for the Hawkeyes. She played in all 17 games and made 16 starts. Stribos notched 18 shots and two assists and was named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad.

Dani Hemeon is a freshman that will have an impact right away,” said Griesbaum. “She is dynamic with the ball and her skills allow her to defend and eliminate effectively. Brynn Gitt is another freshmen with versatility. She can play in both the midfield or backfield.”

Hemeon, a native of Gilroy, Calif., was a 2008 and 2009 Junior Olympian. Hemeon competed on the 2011 Midwest Junior High Performance team and was selected to the 2011 Junior National Team Camp.

Gitt, who hails from Lumberton, N.J., was a four-time National Futures Championship participant. In 2010 as a senior, she was named an NFHCA Regional All-American. Both Hemeon and Gitt will be asked to contribute during their rookie seasons.


Jessica Barnett will be the anchor in our backfield,” said Griesbaum. “Her competitive nature and athleticism will be called upon daily. She is highly involved in our set pieces as well. JB has been voted captain this year. Her passion to compete sets her apart from the rest.”

Barnett, a junior, has made a major impact in her first two seasons wearing the Black and Gold. The North Vancouver, Canada, native has started all 36 career games played. In 2010 as a sophomore, she was named to the NFHCA West All-Region second team and the Big Ten All-Tournament team. Barnett was named second team All-Big Ten after leading the team in goals (seven), points (14) and game-winning goals (two).

Niki Schultheis, Dani Peirson, and Karli Johansen are all sophomores with playing experience,” said Griesbaum. “They have different styles but all are very effective. Sarah Pedrick has improved her skills and will be looked to for steady contributions this season. Our defense needs to be much stingier this year.” Schultheis, who hails from Hamburg, Germany, saw action in 14 contests and made seven starts in 2010. She was named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad.

Peirson was the only freshman to start all 17 games in 2010. The Conestoga, Pa., native amassed four total points, recording one goal and two assists and was named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad. Peirson competed on the 2011 Midwest Junior High Performance team over the summer.

Johansen, from North Vancouver, Canada, saw action in 13 contests and started eight games as a freshman. She was also named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad.

Pedrick, a junior, was a 2010 academic All-Big Ten honoree. The New Castle, Del., native has seen action in 10 games.

“Britt Evangelisti is a freshman who will be competing for minutes,” said Griesbaum. “She has great tackling sense and is very poised in the backfield.” Evangelisti, a native of Voorhees, N.J., served as the team captain on Eastern Regional High School’s New Jersey State Championship team in 2010. She will provide depth in the Hawkeye backfield.


“Kathleen “Merty” McGraw and Kelsey Boyce will be in goal for the Hawkeyes,” said Griesbaum. “Their two years of experience will help us stay organized in our deep defense. Merty had a great summer of hockey within the U.S. program and has steadily improved her overall game. Merty is also a captain this year. “

McGraw, a junior known as `Merty’ by her fellow Hawkeye teammates and coaches, has started 33 games in goal for the Hawkeyes during her first two years. The Atherton, Calif., native has recorded 140 career saves and five shutouts. McGraw, a two-time NFHCA National Academic Squad member, was named academic All-Big Ten in 2010. She was named to the U.S.A. U21 Junior National Squad in July after being named `Goalkeeper of the Tournament’ at the U.S.A. Junior High Performance National Championship.

Boyce, also a junior, has seen action in three contests. The Califon, N.J., native was a member of the 2011 Midwest Junior High Performance training team.