Aug. 27, 2015
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- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
The 17th-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team opens the 2015 season this weekend at the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Phyllis Ocker Field in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Iowa faces No. 11 Wake Forest on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (CT), and concludes the weekend with a 10:30 a.m. (CT) contest against No. 2 North Carolina.
SCOUTING WAKE FOREST
Last year’s ACC champions head to Michigan coming off a 2014 season that saw the Demon Deacons finish 14-7 overall and appear in the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Jennifer Averill returns for her 24th season at the helm of the Wake Forest program. The Demon Deacons lost four-time All-American and 2014 ACC Offensive Player of the Year Anna Kozniuk and third-team All-American Georgia Holland due to graduation, but do return Christine Conroe and Jess Newak. The two seniors were both named to the NFHCA’s All-South Region Second Team last year.
WAKE FOREST VS. IOWA — THE SERIES
? Wake Forest leads the all-time series against Iowa, 9-6.
? In the first ever meeting between the two schools (2002), Iowa won, 1-0.
? The Hawkeyes have defeated the Demon Deacons in each of the last four meetings, including last year’s 4-1 victory in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA
The No. 2-ranked Tar Heels enter 2015 as the preseason ACC favorite coming off a 19-4 mark in 2014. North Carolina advanced to the semifinals of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels are led by head coach Karen Shelton. Over the course of 32 years in Chapel Hill, Shelton has led North Carolina to six NCAA Championships, nine NCAA runner-up finishes, 18 ACC championships, and has over 550 career wins.
NORTH CAROLINA VS. IOWA — THE SERIES
? North Carolina leads the all-time series against Iowa, 24-3.
? The first match ever played between the two schools was in 1984 in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels won, 2-1.
? The last time Iowa and North Carolina met was in last year’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Tar Heels came out on top with a 4-1 victory.
HAWKEYES IN THE BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE
This year marks the 14th year of existence for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, which began in 2002. The Hawkeyes are 4-4 in their last eight ACC/Big Ten Challenge matches. In last year’s event, Iowa defeated 11th-ranked Wake Forest, 4-1, before falling to second-ranked North Carolina, 4-1.
IN THE RANKINGS
Released on Aug. 25, the Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I Preseason Poll has the Hawkeyes ranked 17th heading into the 2015 season. Iowa garnered 225 points in the rankings and is one of six ranked Big Ten schools — Maryland (No. 3), Penn State (T-7th), Northwestern (No. 10), Michigan (No. 14), and Michigan State (No. 19). Iowa has been ranked in the polls each week dating back to Sept. 6, 2011.
TO BE THE BEST YOU HAVE TO PLAY THE BEST
Eight opponents on Iowa’s 2015 schedule are ranked in the NFHCA’s Division I Preseason Poll released on Aug. 25, including No. 11 Wake Forest and No. 2 North Carolina who the Hawkeyes take on this weekend as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
BIG TEN PLAYERS TO WATCH LIST
Three University of Iowa field hockey players — Chandler Ackers, Stephanie Norlander and Alexandra Pecora — have been named to the 2015 Big Ten Players to Watch List, announced by the league office.
Ackers, a junior from White Haven, Pennsylvania, started all 18 contests in 2014, accounting for 11 points on two goals and a team-high seven assists. She was named to the 2014 All-Big Ten Tournament Team, while also garnering Academic All-Big Ten honors. Ackers was also named to the NFHCA Academic Squad for the second-straight year.
A two-time Player to Watch, Norlander was a second-team NFHCA All-American and first-team All-Big Ten honoree in 2014. She started in all 18 contests, scoring 35 points on 15 goals and five assists during her sophomore campaign. The North Vancouver, Canada, native ranked third in the Big Ten and 13th nationally in goals per game (.83), while ranking fifth in the Big Ten and 19th nationally in points per game (1.94). Norlander also scored four game-winning goals last season. In 2013, Norlander was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in addition to earning NFHCA West Region All-America second-team honors.
Pecora appeared in 17 contests in 2014, starting each game at goalkeeper. The Marlton, New Jersey, native posted a 10-7 mark as a sophomore, collecting 78 saves and recording a .722 save percentage. Pecora tallied a career-high 13 saves at No. 2 Maryland on Nov. 1, and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 28 following her performance in a 4-0 shutout over No. 5 Penn State.
WHAT A SUMMER IT WAS
A second-team NFHCA All-American and first-team All-Big Ten honoree in 2014, junior Stephanie Norlander highlights what was a busy summer for several Hawkeyes. A native of North Vancouver, Canada, Norlander competed for the Canadian National Field Hockey Team at the World League 3 semifinals in Valencia, Spain as well as the 2015 Pan American Games, where she helped the Canadians to a third place, bronze medal finish. She scored three goals in Canada’s Pan Am opener against the Dominican Republic en route to a 12-1 victory.
Juniors Chandler Ackers and Alexandra Pecora and sophomores Melissa Progar and Taylor Omqeg were each selected and competed in the USA Women’s National Championship at the USA Training Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Ackers and Pecora were also selected and participated at the Junior National Team Camp and Trials held at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex also in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Sophomore Veronique Declercq competed for the Belgium U21 Team in various tournaments over the course of the summer.
HAWKEYES IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Hawkeyes have been selected to the NCAA Tournament 22 times 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.
Iowa’s 2015 roster features a lot of youth. Of the 19 student-athletes listed on Iowa’s roster, 12 are either freshmen or sophomores. Iowa’s five freshmen include Lara Bampfield (F), Isabella Brown (MF), Makenna Grewe (MF), Riley Kniptash (F/MF), and Avery Semler (F/MF).
The 2014 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and first-team All-American will redshirt during the 2015 season due to injury. Cafone dislocated her shoulder last November and re-injured it during the spring.
WELCOME BACK, JESS
Head coach Lisa Cellucci announced the addition of former Hawkeye Jessica Barnett to her staff in late July. Iowa’s 2012 and 2013 Female Athlete of the Year, Barnett will serve as a volunteer assistant coach. A four-year starter for the Hawkeyes from 2009-12, Barnett was a two-time All-American and a three-time All-Big Ten, All-Region, and Big Ten All-Tournament team selection. She helped the Hawkeyes earn back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2011-12.
The Hawkeyes remain on the road next week when they head to Harrisonburg, Virginia, for a pair of contests. Iowa faces off against Richmond on Sept. 4 before squaring off with James Madison on Sept. 6.
HAWKEYES ON BTN
Throughout the 2015 season, two Hawkeye contests will be televised live on Big Ten Network — Iowa’s home contest against Michigan State (Oct. 16) and away matchup at Penn State (Oct. 23) –, while five additional matches will be streamed live on the BTN Plus. All four quarterfinal matches (Nov. 5) of the 2015 Big Ten Tournament, hosted by the University of Indiana, will be streamed on the BTN Plus. Both semifinal contests (Nov. 6) and the championship match (Nov. 8) can be seen live on BTN.
2014 IN REVIEW
In her first season as head coach of the Hawkeyes, Lisa Cellucci directed an Iowa team that ranked as high as seventh nationally and averaged more than three goals per game. Natalie Cafone and Stephanie Norlander earned NFHCA Division I All-American accolades, becoming the 86th and 87th Hawkeyes in program history to earn national distinction.
LINK UP WITH THE HAWKEYES
For an inside look at the Iowa field hockey program and to access exclusive coverage, “like” The University of Iowa Field Hockey Team on Facebook and follow @IowaFieldHockey on Twitter and Instagram.