May 29, 2012
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- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Nine current or former University of Iowa field hockey student-athletes will compete in the USA Women’s National Championships. The standouts will compete on various teams in which they tried out for and were selected.
The tournament will be held June 1-8 in College Park, Md. It features a round-robin format featuring the top athletes from USA Field Hockey’s eight regional High Performance Centers. All matches will be held at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex on the University of Maryland’s campus, the site of Iowa’s first round NCAA Tournament game in 2011.
Five current Hawkeyes, Aubrey Coleman, Sarah Drake, Geena Lesiak, Kathleen McGraw and Danielle Peirson, will compete for the Midwest Senior High Performance team. Current UI assistant coach Meghan Beamesderfer and former Hawkeye Heather Schnepf will compete for the Midwest as well. In addition, UI head coach Tracey Griesbaum will serve as an assistant coach for the team. She served as an assistant for the Midwest Junior High Performance team a year ago.
“The Hawkeyes are well-represented on the Midwest team,” said Griesbaum. “This is a great accomplishment. I am expecting them to carry forward their skills and work ethic to help the Midwest team win a High Performance National Championship.
“Heather (Schnepf) and Meghan (Beamesderfer) have made mini-comebacks to the Midwest team. They were phenomenal college players and are very capable of competing at the next level. It is so cool to have former Hawkeyes playing because they love to compete and they love the game.”
Coleman, a native of Mickleton, N.J., has played in 36 career games, with 18 starts. She was named Academic All-Big Ten in 2011 as a sophomore. Coleman served as an alternate for the Midwest Junior High Performance team last year.
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 in 2011. She was a member of the Midwest Junior High Performance team a year ago.
Lesiak, a native of Voorhees, N.J., has started 54 of 56 career games played. The two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree was a member of the 2011 Midwest Junior High Performance team.
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. McGraw was a member of last year’s Midwest Junior High Performance team.
Peirson, a sophomore who hails from Conestoga, Pa., was Iowa’s only true freshman to start every game in 2010. She did not see action in 2011 due to injury. Peirson is a two-time NFHCA National Academic Squad member. She was a member of the 2011 Midwest Junior High Performance team.
Beamesderfer led Iowa to three-straight Big Ten Tournament titles (2006-08) and the 2008 NCAA Final Four. She was a two-time All-American, a four-time regional All-American and a three-time All-Big Ten honoree. In 2006, Beamesderfer was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. As a senior in 2009, she led the team in goals (10), defensive saves (four) and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Beamesderfer, who started all 84 career games played, was also a team captain and MVP.
Schnepf (2003-06), a former Iowa All-American, was a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, becoming only the third player in conference history to earn the award in back-to-back years. The 2006 Iowa team captain is now an assistant coach at Kent State.
Pfeiffer, a member of the U.S. National Team since 2009, was a two-time All-American at Iowa. During her career, Pfeiffer earned all-Region honors three times, first team All-Big Ten honors twice and was named Big Ten Tournament MVP twice. She was selected to play in the NFHCA All-Star game as a senior after leading the Black and Gold in points (44) and goals (20). She ended her career with 53 goals to rank ninth in Hawkeye history. Pfeiffer, who started all 83 games in her career, previously served as Iowa’s volunteer assistant coach. One of 20 former Hawkeyes who have competed on the U.S. National Team, she led Iowa to the 2008 NCAA Final Four. Pfeiffer competed on the Senior New England High Performance team in 2011.
Hemeon, a midfielder from Gilroy, Calif., saw action in 17 contests as a freshman in 2011. She competed on the California Senior High Performance team at the 2010 Championships and was a member of the Midwest Junior High Performance team in 2011.
Athletes will compete for spots on the National Squad and the Junior National Camp, where U-21 and U-19 teams will be selected. The U.S. Olympic Team will be announced June 23.