The 17th-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team opens the 2017 season hosting the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Grant Field this weekend. The Hawkeyes take on 15th-ranked Wake Forest on Saturday before hosting top-ranked North Carolina on Sunday. Both games are set for 2 p.m. (CT). Admission is free.
Saturday and Sunday’s matches will be streamed live on BTN Plus. To see if your cable package gives you access to BTN Plus content, sign up for BTN Plus, or learn more about it visit btn2go.com.
FOLLOW ON THE WEB
Iowa field hockey fans can follow all contest via live stats on hawkeyesports.com. Click on the “Live Stats” link found on the field hockey schedule page to access the live stats feed. Fans can also follow @IowaFieldHockey on Twitter for live in-game updates.
• Saturday is Dollar Dog Day. All hotdogs will be on sale for $1.
• A Fan Fest will be held prior to the start of Sunday’s match against North Carolina. The fest will include Herky, the Hawkeye Pep Band, inflatables, and giveaways. It will begin one hour prior to the match.
HAWKEYES IN THE BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE
• This year marks the 16th year for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, which began in 2002. • The Hawkeyes are 5-5 in their last 10 Big Ten/ACC Challenge matches. In last year’s event, Iowa defeated #7 Wake Forest, 2-1, before being edged by #1 North Carolina, 2-1.
SCOUTING #15 WAKE FOREST
• No. 15 Wake Forest played to an 11-8 overall record in 2016.
• Head coach Jennifer Averill returns for her 26th season at Wake Forest.
• The Demon Deacons return their top two goal scorers and their top three in assists from last season. Junior Jule Grashoff and sophomore Nicola Pluta combined to score 33 of the team’s 58 goals in 2016, while junior Megan Anderson led the Deacs with 11 assists.
• Pluta was the 2016 ACC Freshman of the Year. The third team NFHCA All-American was named to the 2017 Preseason All-ACC Team.
IOWA VS. WAKE FOREST — THE SERIES
• Wake Forest leads the all-time series, 9-8.
• Iowa has won the last six matchups, including a 2-1 victory over the seventh-ranked Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem last season.
SCOUTING #1 NORTH CAROLINA
• No. 1 North Carolina finished the 2016 season with a 20-6 record. The Tar Heels advanced to the NCAA Championship game before falling to Delaware, 3-2.
• Head coach Karen Shelton is in her 37th year at the helm. She owns a 628-159-9 career record.
• The Tar Heels have reached the semifinals of the NCAA Championship in each of the past eight years.
• Juniors Ashley Hoffman and Eva van’t Hoog were named to the 2017 Preseason All-ACC Team. Hoffman registered nine goals and 10 assists last season, while van’t Hoog scored eight goals and registered five assists.
Iowa vs. North Carolina — the series
• The Tar Heels lead the all-time series, 26-3.
• North Carolina edged the Hawkeyes, 2-1, at the 2016 Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Eight of Iowa’s 2017 opponents are ranked in the top-15 of the Penn Monto/NFHCA Preseason Rankings (8/22). They include: No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Duke, No. 6 Maryland, No. 7 Penn State, No. 11 Michigan, No. 13 Stanford, No. 14 Northwestern, and No. 15 Wake Forest.
THE ROSTER AT A GLANCE
• The Hawkeyes return 12 letterwinners from last season.
• Seven of Iowa’s 12 letterwinners saw action in all 19 contests last season.
• Iowa welcomes eight newcomers, including Ashley Drum (F), Emily Deuell (D), Ellie Holley (MF/F), Nikki Freeman (MF), Lizzy Cimilluca (F), Mya Christopher (F), Lucie Daman (D), and Madeleine Murphy (F).
B1G PRESEASON HONOREES
• Katie Birch, Mallory Lefkowitz, and Melissa Progar earned preseason All-Big Ten recognition.
• Birch, a sophomore midfielder, started all 19 games in 2016. She recorded 12 goals and four assists for 28 points for the Hawkeyes in her freshman campaign — the second most on the team. The York, England, native earned second-team All-Big Ten honors last season and was named Freshman of the Year by the league office.
• Lefkowitz, a senior forward started all 19 games last season. She registered one goal and three assists for five points. The Kingston, Pennsylvania, native earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2016 for the second consecutive year.
• Progar, a senior midfielder, who earned preseason All-Big Ten recognition in 2016, started all 19 games last season. She recorded a team-high 12 assists (second in the Big Ten). The Yorktown, Virginia, native earned Academic All-Big Ten and NFHCA Academic honors in 2016.
5 HAWKEYES SELECTED FOR YOUNG WOMEN’S NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
• Seniors Mallory Lefkowtiz, Melissa Progar, Taylor Omweg, and Katie Jones, and junior Makenna Grewe were selected to compete at the 2017 Young Women’s National Championships from June 12-16.
• The Young Women’s National Championship is a high-level, international structured competition that serves as the selection avenue to the Junior National Camps and the Development Squad Camp.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING — INDIVIDUAL STATS
• Sophomore Katie Birch, the 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, ranked second in the conference in shots (89) and shots per game (4.63) last season. She also ranked ninth in goals (12) and goals per game (0.63).
• Senior Melissa Progar ranked second in the conference in assists (12). Progar’s 0.63 assists per game ranked third among Big Ten opponents.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING — TEAM STATS
• The Hawkeyes ranked third in the Big Ten in goals (64) and goals per game (3.37) last season.
• Iowa’s 15.68 shots per game was the fourth-highest mark in the Big Ten. Iowa also ranked third in assists per game (2.63) and fourth in points per game (9.37).
HAWKEYES FINISH STRONG
The University of Iowa field hockey team has won five out of its last seven matches in 2016, including three Big Ten wins over No. 9 Northwester (2-1) in overtime, Michigan State (5-3), and Ohio State (3-2).
IOWA 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 return to action next weekend, traveling to California for three matches. Iowa will take on Stanford on Sept. 1, California on Sept. 3, and UC Davis on Sept. 4.
LINK UP WITH THE HAWKEYES
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