No. 13 Hawkeyes Host Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Sep 4, 2013

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The 13th-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team opens its home slate this weekend, hosting the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Grant Field. Iowa faces No. 18 Wake Forest on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. (CT) and No. 1 North Carolina on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. (CT). The University of Michigan field hockey team will also take on both ACC schools, following Iowa’s matches.

The Demon Deacons head into Iowa City after defeating Miami (OH), 3-2, in their season opener. The win on Aug. 30 gave Wake Forest head coach Jennifer Averill her 300th career win at the helm of Wake Forest field hockey. The Demon Deacons are led by junior Anna Kosniuk who was recently selected to the Preseason All-ACC Team. Last season, Kozniuk tallied 19 points with five goals and nine assists while playing in all 20 games for the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest finished the 2012 season with a 9-11 record overall and ended the season ranked No. 23.

In addition to Wake Forest, the Hawkeyes will also battle top-ranked North Carolina. The Tar Heels carry a 2-0 record into the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. After a close 2-1 victory in their season opener against Lock Haven, North Carolina topped Villanova at home 10-0. The Tar Heels are led by head coach Karen Shelton. Over the course of 32 years in Chapel Hill, Karen has led North Carolina to six NCAA Championships, nine NCAA runner-up finishes, 18 ACC championships, and has over 550 career wins.

The Big Ten/ACC Challenge is in its 12th year, as it has been played annually since the 2002 season. Iowa posted a 1-1 record at the 2012 Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The Hawkeyes are 4-9 all-time against Wake Forest and 3-22 against North Carolina. Iowa won its last meeting with Wake Forest, 3-2, on Aug. 25, 2012 at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Winston Salem, N.C. The Hawkeyes fell to the Tar Heels, 5-0, on Aug. 26, 2012, at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Iowa last defeated North Carolina at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Aug. 31, 2008, as it downed the then-ranked No. 1 Tar Heels, 3-2.

The Hawkeyes opened their season Aug. 30, defeating Bucknell, 3-1. The Hawkeyes started off strong as sophomore Natalie Cafone netted Iowa’s first goal just five minutes into the game. After Bucknell tied the game off a deflection, freshman Stephanie Norlander put Iowa back on top beating the Bison goaltender on the backhand. Niki Schultheis opened the scoring for the visiting team in the second half giving the Hawkeyes a 3-1 lead. Iowa played strong defensively, limiting Bucknell to just five shots on goal in the game and no goals in the second half. Kelcey Boyce picked up her first collegiate win for the Hawkeyes.

Iowa improved to 2-0 on the road trip after defeating defending Patriot League champions Lafayette College, 3-1, Sept. 1 at Rappolt field. Karli Johansen opened the scoring for the Hawkeyes with 24:25 seconds remaining in the first half, scoring on a penalty stroke. Johansen was awarded the penalty stroke after she was taken out by the Lafayette goalkeeper on the previous play. Kelsey Mitchell added to Iowa’s lead a few minutes later, netting her first goal of the season off a feed from Natalie Cafone to extend the visitor lead to 2-0.

Stephanie Norlander continued the scoring for the Hawkeyes 13:28 into the second half. Norlander beat the Lafayette goaltender on the backhand for her second goal of the season off a pass from Brynn Gitt. Danielle Peirson and the Hawkeyes played stifling defense throughout, shutting out the defending Patriot League champions. The win improves Hawkeye goalkeeper Kelsey Boyce’s record to 2-0 on the season.

Iowa garnered an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season last year, earning back-to-back bids for the first time since 2007-08. The Hawkeyes fell in the first round of the tournament at No. 7 Virginia, 3-2.

The Hawkeyes were selected to the NCAA Tournament last year for the sixth time in nine years, and for the 22nd time in program history — the most of any school as a member of the Big Ten Conference. The Hawkeyes are 26-23 all-time in tournament play, including 9-5 in first round match-ups and 11-6 in second round contests. Iowa has advanced to 11 NCAA Final Fours, winning the 1986 national championship. The Hawkeyes 26 tournament victories and 11 NCAA Final Fours are the most of any school as a member of the Big Ten Conference.

The Black and Gold feature six freshman on the 2013 roster. Jessy Silfer and Chanlder Ackers will both see action in the backfield. Ali Campos, Stephanie Norlander, and Sophie Plasteras will contribute to the Hawkeye forward line. Freshman goal keeper Alexandra Pecora rounds out the Hawkeye newcomers.

The Big Ten Network will be airing at least two Hawkeye contests this season. Iowa will first appear on BTN Sept. 27 at Northwestern at 2 p.m. (CT). The Hawkeyes play host to Penn State, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m. (CT) at Grant Field. In addition, coverage of the Big Ten Tournament can be seen on BTN.

After the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the Hawkeyes next home stand will feature Central Michigan and Stanford. Iowa will host the Chippewas Sept. 13 and the Cardinal Sept. 15. The Hawkeyes will open Big Ten play on the road in Evanston, Ill., against Northwestern on Sept. 27.

The University of Iowa field hockey team is ranked 13th in the country in the 2013 Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I Preseason Poll. The Hawkeyes garnered 344 points in the rankings. Iowa has been ranked each week (22 weeks) in the poll dating back to Sept. 6, 2011. Iowa is one of four Big Ten Conference schools in the team rankings along with Penn State (sixth), Michigan (ninth), and Northwestern (11th). A total of seven Hawkeye opponents are in the top-20.

Three University of Iowa field hockey players — Karli Johansen, Niki Schultheis, and Marike Stribos — appear on the 2013 Big Ten Field Hockey Players to Watch List.

Johansen, a senior from North Vancouver, Canada, has played in 50 career games and made 45 starts for the Hawkeyes. She was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team as a sophomore and junior. Johansen was selected to the Canadian Women’s National Team in April. Johansen, who served as captain of the Canadian Junior World Cup Team in July, is one of eight Big Ten field hockey standouts also named to the list last season.

Schultheis, a senior from Hamburg, Germany, enters her fourth year as a starter for the Hawkeyes. Schultheis started all 21 games and posted a career-high 10 assists in 2012. The 10 assists marked the second-highest total on the team and ranked 10th in the Big Ten. Schultheis is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a three-time NFHCA National Academic Squad member.

Stribos, a senior from Brussels, Belgium, has played in 58 career games for the Hawkeyes with 57 career starts. Last season as a junior, Stribos was named a Longstreth/NFHCA First Team West Region All-American, in addition to being a second team All-Big Ten selection. She is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a three-time NFHCA National Academic Squad member.

Former University of Iowa women’s athletic director Dr. Christine H.B. Grant has been selected to the NFHCA Hall of Fame. Grant joins Virginia head coach Michele Madison, a former Iowa assistant (1982-89), and Ursinus College head coach Laura Moliken in the Class of 2013.

A pioneer in intercollegiate athletics in the United States, Grant became the first women’s athletics director at the University of Iowa in 1973. In her 27 years at the helm of a separate Women’s Athletic Department, Grant helped coaches develop highly competitive teams at the national level and at the conference level where they won 27 Big Ten Conference titles. A native of Scotland, Grant has earned national acclaim for her dedication to gender equity in athletics. She has testified on Title IX and Gender Equity before several U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittees and has served as an expert witness in many Title IX lawsuits. She served as President of both the AIAW and the NACWAA.

She was given an Honorary Doctorate of Humane letters by Luther College and also by the University of Northern Iowa and named one of the 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America by the Institute of International Sport.

Iowa’s home facility — Grant Field — is named in honor of Grant, the founder of Iowa field hockey.

Become fans of the official Iowa Field Hockey fan page by going to to follow the Hawkeyes on Facebook. Fans can also follow the Black and Gold on Twitter and Instagram (@iowafieldhockey).