3 Hawkeyes Earn NFHCA All-West Region Accolades

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa field hockey student-athletes Natalie Cafone, Chandler Ackers, and Katie Birch have earned National Field Hockey Coaches Association All- West Region recognition, the NFHCA announced Tuesday. Cafone garnered first team honors, while Ackers and Birch were each named to the second team.
Cafone — a three-time first team All-Big Ten honoree and a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of The Year — earns her third All-West Region honor. The redshirt senior posted team-highs in goals (20) and points (48) while also tallying eight assists in 19 games this season.
A native of Fairfield, New Jersey, Cafone started 65 games in her Hawkeye career, collecting 68 goals, 23 assists and 159 points. The two-time NFHCA All-American is tied for sixth (Ellen Egan) on Iowa’s all-time goals list. Cafone finished the season leading the Big Ten in goals (20), goals per game (1.05), shots (89), shots per game (4.68), and ranked second in points (48) and points per game (2.53).
Ackers earns her second straight second team All-West Region accolade. The two-time all-conference honoree started 54 games in her four-year career, tallying 18 goals, 20 assists, and 56 points. She matched single-season career highs in goals (8) and assists (7) her senior season. Ackers also notched her first career hat trick in Iowa’s win over Central Michigan on Oct. 7.
A native of White Haven, Pennsylvania, Ackers is a two-time member of the NFHCA academic squad and Big Ten all-academic team.
Birch — the 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Year — earns her first All-West Region honor. Birch became just the fifth Hawkeye in program history to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the first since 2013 (Stephanie Norlander). She started all 19 games for the Hawkeyes this season, tallying 12 goals, four assists, and 28 points. Birch finished the season ranked second in the conference in shots (88) and third in shots per game (4.63).
A native of York, England, Birch was the only freshman in the Big Ten named to an all-conference team. She earned back-to-back Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors on Aug. 30 and Sept. 6. Birch scored her first career hat trick in Iowa’s 11-0 victory over Saint Louis on Sept. 4. 
The 2016 Longstreth/NFHCA Division I All-American Teams will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 7.