Building Confidence at the Right Time

Oct. 20, 2011

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa field hockey team won its third-straight contest Saturday, claiming a 4-2 win over 18th-ranked Indiana at Grant Field.

More importantly, the Hawkeyes are building confidence at just the right time in the process.

Iowa, ranked 13th, recorded the conference win over Indiana on Saturday, despite falling behind 1-0 early.

“Knowing it was our last home game, it was a lot of pressure,” said 12th-year head coach Tracey Griesbaum. “I didn’t realize how uptight we possibly were until the beginning of the game. We gave up, what in my opinion, was a really soft goal. But we rebounded and responded really well.”

“It is the Big Ten, it is October, and everyone is trying to battle and get into a really good place for the tournament. It is a very, very vital weekend for us.”
UI head coach Tracey Griesbaum

The Hawkeyes stayed the course, despite trailing on their home turf.

“It says a lot,” said Griesbaum. “It is really hard to do, especially when you are at home. You are on your heels right away, and it was not how we intended to start out the game.

“Now, at this point in the season, with this team, I have a lot of confidence that they will come back. You just have to stick to your game plan, get it back, and chip away, one-by-one. That is exactly what we did.”

Come back they did. Iowa trailed 1-0 less than two minutes into action, but responded with two goals in the first half to grab a 2-1 halftime lead. After Indiana tied the game at 2-2, the Hawkeyes answered again with the final two goals, capturing a 4-2 victory.

The comeback is a symbol of how this team has grown up.

“I am really proud,” said Griesbaum. “It is nice to know that we have that confidence. You do not have to panic and make all these crazy tactical changes; you just keep working and keep doing what we are supposed to do. Our game plan did not change in the first half just because we were down.”

Iowa is now 11-3 overall and 3-2 in Big Ten play after notching the win on “Senior Day,” with three games remaining in the final two regular season weekends of play.

“This team has done a lot of really neat things,” said senior Becca Spengler. “We wanted to stay focused on getting the win. It was really important.”

“I am really proud of this entire group and the leadership that is stepping up,” said Griesbaum.

The Hawkeyes are looking to keep the momentum rolling in the final two weeks of the regular season.

Iowa continues action this weekend when it travels to Evanston, Ill., for two matches. The Hawkeyes will play at Northwestern on Saturday and will then face Pacific in Evanston on Sunday. The match against the Wildcats will be Iowa’s final Big Ten Conference match during the regular season.

Iowa, 3-2 in the Big Ten, sits a half-game behind Michigan and Penn State (3-1) in the league standings

“It starts with our body recovering,” said Griesbaum. “We do have a long week just because of a single game on a Saturday. We are going to try to take our “A” game over to Evanston and play Northwestern. They are going to give us a really good game too.

“It is the Big Ten, it is October, and everyone is trying to battle and get into a really good place for the tournament. It is a very, very vital weekend for us.”