Iowa City, Iowa — The University of Iowa field hockey team celebrated its 2016 season Saturday in the Feller Club Room at Carver Hawkeye Arena. Team awards, voted on by players on the team, were announced at the banquet.
Natalie Cafone was named team MVP following a season which saw her lead the Big Ten in goals (20), goals per game (1.05), shots (89), and shots per game (4.68). The redshirt senior finished second in the Big Ten in points (48) and points per game (2.53). The Fairfield, New Jersey, native was also named a NFHCA first-team All American, NHFCA West Region Player of The Year, NHFCA first-team All-Region, and the Big Ten Offensive Player of The Year. Cafone finished her Hawkeye career tied for sixth (Ellen Egan) on Iowa’s all-time goals scored list with 68 goals.
The Nancy McLinden Carr Award — presented to the player who consistently exudes enthusiasm, energy, and a positive attitude within the Iowa field hockey program — was awarded to Sophie Plasteras for the second consecutive season. The North Vancouver, Canada, native started all 19 games in 2016, tallying nine goals and three assists for 21 points. An Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Plasteras was also named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team, scoring Iowa’s only goal in its Big Ten Tournament match against Northwestern.
The Dr. Christine Grant Leadership Award — presented to the player who demonstrates leadership on a daily basis, while also representing UI in a first-class manner on and off the field — was presented to senior goalkeeper Alexandra Pecora. The senior started every game for the Hawkeyes for the third straight season, logging 1,275 minutes this season in net. She was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and the NHFCA Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 14 for shutting out Monmouth and Kent State in back-to-back games. The Marlton, New Jersey, native tallied 65 saves — the fourth most in the Big Ten — and posted a 2.19 goals against average. She recorded three shutouts this season and combined with junior goaltender Katie Jones to blank Saint Louis and Central Michigan. Pecora has now won this award two years in a row.
Melissa Progar took home the Practice Player of The Year Award, which is presented to the player who maintains the highest level of intensity in practice throughout the year. The Yorktown, Virginia, native registered a team-high 12 assists — the second most in the Big Ten — and 14 total points in the 2016 season. An Academic All-Big Ten Honoree, Progar started all 19 games logging the second-most time on the field (1,324 minutes) for field positions players.