Hawkeyes Announce Team Awards, 2012 Team Captains

May 22, 2012

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa field hockey team announced its team award winners for the 2011 season. These awards include the Most Valuable Player, Practice Player of the Year, Nancy McLinden Carr Award and Dr. Christine Grant Leadership Award. The awards are voted on by athletes and coaches.

Junior Jessica Barnett was named the Most Valuable Player for the second-straight season. This award is presented to the player who demonstrates outstanding skill, character, competitive drive, leadership, and devotion to team goals. These traits are embodied by the individual that the team and coaches deem most valuable to team success.

Barnett, a native of North Vancouver, Canada, has started every game of her Hawkeye career. As a junior in 2011, she was named a national All-American, a regional All-American, was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team and earned first team All-Big Ten honors. Barnett ranked second on the team with 24 points and 11 goals and tied for first with three defensive saves this season. She also tallied two game-winning goals. Barnett earned three Big Ten Player of the Week awards, becoming the first Hawkeye to accomplish the feat since Kristy Gleason in 1992.

Junior Kathleen McGraw received the Dr. Christine Grant Leadership Award for the second-consecutive year. The award is presented to the player who demonstrates leadership on a daily basis. This award winner has the utmost respect of her teammates, coaches and opponents. In addition, she represents the University of Iowa in a first class manner in the classroom and on the field.

McGraw, a native of Atherton, Calif., is a three-time NFHCA National Academic Squad member. She was named second team All-Big Ten and regional All-America in 2011 as a junior. The goalkeeper ranked first in the Big Ten with five shutouts, giving her 10 for her career. She ranked first in the conference in save percentage (.782) during the regular season. McGraw ranked ninth nationally in goals against average (1.34) and sixth in the country in save percentage during the regular season. She has started the last 49 games in goal for Iowa and has started 53 of 54 career games played.

For the second-straight season, junior Sarah Drake earned the Practice Player of the Year award. The award is given to the player who maintains the highest level of intensity in practice throughout the year, helping to make her teammates better by always competing and giving everything she has in all training sessions.

Drake, who hails from Ann Arbor, Mich., was named regional All-America and first team All-Big Ten in 2011. The three-time NFHCA National Academic Squad member has started every game of her career. Drake ranked third on the team with eight goals and 20 points this season. She tallied two game-winning goals.

The Nancy McLinden Carr Award went to senior Becca Spengler for the third consecutive year. The Nancy McLinden Carr Award is presented to the player who consistently exudes enthusiasm, energy and a positive attitude within the Iowa field hockey program. These attributes were possessed by Nancy in the game of field hockey and life.

The Lititz, Pa., native appeared in 67 career games for the Hawkeyes and made 56 starts, while tallying nine career goals and 22 points. Spengler was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, earned three PCA academic awards and was a four-time NFHCA National Academic Squad member. A three-time team captain, she was named Iowa’s field hockey Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree each of the last three years. The former Warwick High School standout is an ISAAC representative and serves as Secretary on the Executive Committee. Spengler helped the Hawkeyes win their third-straight Big Ten Tournament title and reach the NCAA Final Four as a freshman in 2008. She also helped lead Iowa to the NCAA Tournament as a senior in 2011.

“I am very proud of the award recipients once again this year,” said head coach Tracey Griesbaum. “We have all four awards as repeat winners. That shows that their strong characteristics are consistent. That is a sign of a great athlete and competitor. How many times can you repeat a top performance? Can you get up every day and lead by example? Becca (Spengler), (Sarah) Drake, Merty (Kathleen McGraw) and JB (Jessica Barnett) are tough, steady competitors that have a lot of pride in this program.”

In addition, Iowa announced that Barnett and McGraw will serve as team captains for the 2012 season.

“Merty and JB will once again represent this team and program as captains,” said Griesbaum. “They have a high standard for themselves and that carries over to the rest of the team. I am confident that they will once again lead by example and display their passion every day.”