The 15th-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team is back in action this weekend as they host a pair of conferences matches. The Hawkeyes will face No. 6 Maryland on Friday at 3 p.m. (CT) and Rutgers on Sunday at noon (CT) at Grant Field. Admission is free to the public. Both matches this weekend can be seen live on BTN2GO.
THIS WEEKS PROMOTIONS
FRIDAY VS. MARYLAND @3 P.M.
• GRANT GOES GOLD — All fans are encouraged to wear GOLD
• The first 150 fans will receive Golf T-Shirts
• Dollar Dogs — Fans can purchase hot dogs for $1
SUNDAY VS. RUTGERS @NOON
• Cosplay Day — All fans are encouraged to wear costumes to the game; top costume will win a prize pack
• Free hot dogs, bacon cheeseburgers, and refreshments will be available for the first 100 UI students at the game
• The first 100 fans will receive Comic books
• Junior Hawks Club Day — All Junior Hawk Club members receive FREE popcorn
• Postgame autograph session
SCOUTING #6 MARYLAND:
Maryland starts the 2016 season as the defending Big Ten Tournament Champions. Maryland enters this weekend ranked sixth nationally with a 5-2 record, including a1-0 conference mark. The Terrapins’ two losses came to then-No. 2 Syracuse (4-1), and then-No. 4 Duke (1-0). Maryland also defeated then-No. 8 Boston College (3-1) and won its first conference match against Indiana last weekend (4-1). Senior Welma Luus leads Maryland with 14 points and has a team-high seven goals, which ranks her fourth in the Big Ten. Junior Lein Holsboer ranks first in assists per game (1.00) in the Big Ten. Hoslboer has a team-high seven assists and a total of nine points this season. Sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Holliday has 30 saves in her first seven games. Holliday’s 30 saves makes her fourth in saves and saves per game (4.30) in the Big Ten.
IOWA VS. MARYLAND– THE SERIES
• Maryland leads the series, 10-3-1.
• Iowa is 1-3 when facing Maryland at Grant Field.
• The last time these two teams met was last season. The Terrapins won that match, 2-1, in double overtime in Iowa City.
Rutgers comes to Iowa City with a 5-2 record. The Scarlet Knights have won their last three games, scoring a total of 24 goals in that span. Freshman Nikki Santore has registered four assists and a team-high six goals for a total of 14 points. Santore’s 14 points ranks fifth in the Big Ten. Senior Devon Freshnock has five goals and three assists for a total of 13 points in 2016, and sophomore Linde van Schaik has five goals and one assist for 11 points so far this year.
IOWA VS. RUTGERS — THE SERIES
• The Hawkeyes lead the series, 6-0-1.
• Iowa is undefeated (2-0) versus Rutgers at Grant Field.
• The last time these two teams met was last year. The Hawkeyes won that match, 4-3, Iowa City
LAST TIME OUT
Iowa scored four unanswered goals in the second half to defeat Ball State at Grant Field Sunday.
After being held scoreless in the first half, senior Chandler Ackers opened the scoring for the Hawkeyes in the 46th minute off a corner. Ackers tipped freshman Katie Birch’s shot past the goalkeeper to even the score at, 1-1. Birch and junior Melissa Progar were credited with assists on the play.
The Hawkeyes continued their scoring ways in the 47th minute when senior Sophie Plasteras scored on a three-on-two to give the Hawkeyes a 2-1 lead. Plasteras was setup after a passing play between junior Mallory Lefkowitz and redshirt senior Natalie Cafone.
Iowa extended its lead (3-1) in the 53rd minute when Birch scored her seventh goal of the season off of a corner. Ackers and junior Taylor Omweg were credited with assists on the play.
Cafone rounded out the scoring in the 63rd minute. The redshirt senior beat a couple of defenders down the middle of the field and shot the ball right under the cross bar to give Iowa a 4-1 lead.
The Hawkeyes had 21 corners and a total of 29 shots, with Birch leading the way with 16. Senior goalkeeper Alexandra Pecora picked up her sixth win in goal with the victory.
PECORA NAMED NFHCA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
University of Iowa field hockey senior Alexandra Pecora was named Longstreth/NFHCA Division I Player of the Week, the NFHCA office announced on Sept. 14. It marked the first national weekly honor of Pecora’s career.
Pecora, who earned her second career Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week award on Sept. 13 helped the Hawkeyes post wins over Monmouth (4-0) on Sept. 10 and Kent State (2-0) on Sept.11. The goalkeeper registered back-to-back shutouts, recording one save against Monmouth and six against Kent State.
In her four years at Iowa, the Marlton, New Jersey, native has played in a total of 46 games and accumulated 182 saves. Pecora has five shutouts in her career.
HAWKEYES EARN BIG TEN WEEKLY HONORS THREE STRAIGHT WEEKS
Senior Alexandra Pecora was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, the league office announced on Sept.13. It marked the second weekly honor of Pecora’s career and the third straight honor for the Hawkeyes this season.
A native of Marlton, New Jersey, Pecora posted back-to-back shutouts against Monmouth (4-0) on Sept 10. and Kent State (2-0) on Sept. 11. The goalkeeper registered one save against Monmouth and six against Kent State.
Freshman Katie Birch was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the second time in as many weeks on Sept. 6.
Birch scored the first four goals of her career to help the Hawkeyes to victories over Fairfield (4-1) on Sept.2 and Saint Louis (11-0) on Sept. 4. The York, England, native anchored an Iowa defense that only allowed one goal and stopped all 11 penalty corners faced.
Birch earned her first conference honor following her performance at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Winston Salem, North Carolina, Aug. 27-28.
She registered her first career assist and was part of a Hawkeye defense that fended off three Demon Deacon penalty corners, including a critical stop in the final seconds.
HAWKEYES RANK 13TH IN RPI
The University of Iowa is ranked 13th in the first RPI released this week. The Hawkeyes are one for four Big Ten teams ranked in the Top 20: Penn State (3), Maryland (5), and Northwestern (10).
Iowa’s 11 goals and 39 shots against Saint Louis are the most by any Big Ten team in a match this season.
Individually, Alexandra Pecora has posted back-to-back shutouts against Monmouth and Kent State, and combined with Katie Jones to blank Saint Louis. The senior leads the Big Ten with two shutouts.
Natalie Cafone ranks in the top-10 in a number of statiscal categories in the Big Ten. The Hawkeye senior ranks third in shots per match (5.25), third in points per match (2.75), third in goals per match (1.00), fourth in assists per match (0.75).
Iowa is the only Big Ten team to have two players (Katie Birch and JoElla Guagliardo) record hat tricks this season.
CAFONE MOVES UP IN RANKS
Natailie Cafone scored two goals this past weekend giving her 55 career goals. Cafone remains ninth all-time in career goals at Iowa. The redshirt senior is seven goals behind former Hawkeye Kelly Flanagan (62) for eighth.
The Hawkeyes welcomed back 14 players including seniors, Chandler Ackers, Natalie Cafone, Sophie Plasteras, and Alexandra Pecora. In addition to the returnees, Iowea welcomes five newcomers to 2016 roster, including Katie Birch (MF/D), Ryley Miller (MF), Isabella Solaroli (MF), Leslie Speight (GK), and Sophie Sunderland (MF).
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.
The Hawkeyes are back in action next weekend with two road matches. The Hawkeyes will travel to Indiana (Sept. 30) and No. 7 Louisville (Oct. 2).
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.