June 4, 2014
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Six University of Iowa field hockey student-athletes have been selected to compete in two U.S. High Performance Tournaments. Chandler Ackers, Natalie Cafone, and Dani Hemeon have been tabbed to compete in the Women’s National Championship, while Alexandra Pecora, Jessy Silfer, and Isabella Licciardello were selected to play in the U21 Championship.
“We are thrilled to have the Hawkeyes well represented at the USA Field Hockey level,” said UI head coach Tracey Griesbaum. “They have played well up to this point and now they need to continue to train hard in preparation for a great performance at the upcoming tournaments.”
The annual Women’s National Championship features the most elite athletes in the country, including top collegiate players, current National Team members and members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Women’s Field Hockey Team. Athletes train at High Performance sites throughout the country in the hopes of being named to the Women’s National Championship squad for their region. The six regional squads then face off in June for the prestigious title of national champion.
The Women’s National Championship serves as the selection trials for the U.S. Women’s National Squad. The 2014 Women’s National Championship will be held at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on June 16-21.
The Under 21 Championship will feature the top-72 U21 athletes across the country. Athletes will be playing for a highly coveted spot at this year’s Junior National Camp in the hopes to be selected to one of the 2014-2015 Junior National Teams. The event will take place, June 22-25, at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster.
For the last three years, Iowa has had two players selected to the USA U21 National Squad.
Ackers, a sophomore from White Haven, Pennsylvania, competed in six games during her rookie campaign in 2013, earning NFHCA National Academic Squad honors.
Cafone finished the 2013 season as the NCAA statistical champion for points per game as a sophomore, leading the nation with a 2.48 points per game average. The Fairfield, New Jersey, native earned her first career All-America accolade after posting team highs in points (52) and goals (22). Cafone tied for third nationally with 1.05 goals per game and was named to the All-Big Ten first team, Big Ten All-Tournament team, and NFHCA West Region All-America first team. She became the first Hawkeye to lead the nation in points per game since Kristy Gleason in 1992 (3.95). Cafone was named to the 2013-14 USA U21 Junior National Squad and was a member of 2013 Midwest Senior High Performance team.
Hemeon, a senior, earned her first All-America recognition in 2013 as a junior after recording 30 points and 13 goals. The Gilroy, California, native was also named to the All-Big Ten first team, Big Ten All-Tournament team, and NFHCA West Region All-America first team. Hemeon was named to the 2012-13 and 2013-14 USA U21 Junior National Squad and was selected to the 2012 US National Team Development Squad. She was a member of the 2010 and 2012 California Senior High Performance team and the 2011 Midwest Junior High Performance team. Hemeon was also a member of 2013 Midwest Senior High Performance team, and was selected to the 2011 and 2012 Junior National Team Camp.
Pecora, a sophomore from Marlton, New Jersey, saw action in two contests at goalkeeper during her freshman season in 2013.
Silfer started all 21 games as a freshman in 2013. She was named an NFHCA Scholar of Distinction.
Licciardello, who hails from Fredericksburg, Virginia, saw action in all 21 games as a sophomore in 2013. She was selected to compete at 2013 USA Field Hockey U21 Women’s National Championship and was a member of 2013 Midwest Senior High Performance team.