The 20th-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team opens the 2018 season at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Hawkeyes face No. 14 Wake Forest on Saturday, followed by a match against host No. 2 North Carolina on Sunday. Both games are set for 1 p.m. (CT).
Sunday’s game against North Carolina will be streamed live on the ACC Network Extra. To access the stream an ESPN+ subscription is required.
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.
ROSTER AT A GLANCE
• The Hawkeyes return 14 letterwinners from last season.
• Nine of Iowa’s 14 letterwinners saw action in all 18 contests last season.
• Iowa welcomes seven freshman, including Meghan Conroy (MF/F), Anthe Nijziel (D), Leah Zellner (F), Lokke Stribos (D/MF), Ciara Smith (F), Makenna Maguire (F/MF), and Cat Nicholson (D).
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING — TEAM STATS
• Iowa scored 45 goals last season, while scoring four or more goals in five games.
• Iowa’s 2.50 goals per game were the fifth most in the Big Ten.
• The Hawkeyes had 45 assists and averaged 2.50 per game, which was the second most in the Big Ten.
• Iowa allowed an average of 2.33 goals per game, best for third in the Big Ten.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING — INDIVIDUAL STATS
• Third team NFHCA All-American Katie Birch led the team in goals (14), points (36), shots (68), and shots on goal (45). Birch’s 14 goals were the third most in the Big Ten.
• Sophomore Maddy Murphy had 11 goals on 25 shots and 25 points, both of which were second most on the team. The NFHCA Second Team All-West Regional selection had a team-leading three game-winning goals.
B1G PRESEASON HONORS
• Katie Birch, Maddy Murphy, and Sophie Sunderland earned preseason All-Big Ten recognition, announced by the conference on Aug. 20.
• Birch, a junior midfielder, started all 18 games in 2017. She scored a team-leading 14 goals — the third most in the Big Ten — and recorded eight assists for a total of 36 points. The York, England, native registered two hat-tricks in route to NFHCA third team All-America honors, NFHCA first team All-West Region honors, and first team All-Big Ten honors last season.
• Murphy, a sophomore forward, started all 18 games last season. She led the team with three game-winning goals and was second on the team with 11 goals and 25 points. In games against New Hampshire and Northwestern, she scored two goals. Last season, she was an NFHCA second team All-West Regional selection, second team All-Big Ten selection, and was named to the NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad.
• Sunderland, a junior midfielder, started all 18 games and scored four goals on 10 shots, best for third on the team. The Ipswich, England, native has started all 37 games of her career.
ROZ ELLIS RETURNS
A former two-time first team All-Big Ten selection for Iowa from 2005-08 is back with the Hawkeyes as an assistant coach. Roz Ellis, who anchored the Hawkeye defense and helped lead Iowa to three straight Big Ten Tournament Championships and NCAA Tournament appearences, started all 83 games, scored 14 goals, and recorded 11 assists in her career. As a senior and team captain in 2008, Ellis earned multiple national and conference accolades, while also reaching the Final Four, which was Iowa’s first appearence since 1999. Following her playing career, Ellis was an assistant coach at five different schools before returning to her alma mater.
HAWKEYES IN THE BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE
• This year marks the 17th year for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, which began in 2002.
• The Hawkeyes are 5-7 in their last 12 Big Ten/ACC Challenge matches. In last year’s event, Iowa fell to No. 15 Wake Forest, 3-2, and No. 1 North Carolina, 3-0.
SCOUTING WAKE FOREST
• Wake Forest was 12-8 last season. The Demon Deacons an NCAA Tournament appearence.
• Head coach Jennifer Averill, who owns a 361-176-3 (.671) record at Wake Forest, is in her 27th season.
• The Demon Deacons are led by seniors Jule Grashoff and Megan Anderson. Grashoff, a NFHCA second team All-American, led the team in goals (16) and assists (14) in 20 contests, while Anderson had the second most assists (13).
IOWA VS. WAKE FOREST — THE SERIES
• Wake Forest leads the all-time series, 11-7.
• Iowa has won six of the last seven matchups.
SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA
• North Carolina went 18-5, won the ACC Conference Championship, and advanced to the NCAA Semifinals before falling to Connecticut 2-1 in a shootout.
• Head coach Karen Shelton is in her 37th year at North Carolina and owns a 646-164-9 career record. She has the second most wins in NCAA history.
• The Tar Heels have reached the semifinals of the NCAA Championship in each of the past nine years.
• Three seniors — Ashley Hoffman, Eva van’t Hoog, and Malin Evert — lead the Tarheel squad. All three Tarheels tallied 24 or more points a season ago.
Iowa vs. North Carolina — the series
• The Tar Heels lead the all-time series, 27-3.
Eight of Iowa’s 2018 opponents are ranked in the top-25 of the Penn Monto/NFHCA Preseason Rankings (8/20). They include: No. 2 North Carolina, No. 4 Maryland, No. 5 Michigan, No. 6 Penn State, No. 12 Northwestern, No. 14 Wake Forest, No. 15 Stanford, and No. 24 Ohio State.
4 HAWKEYES SELECTED FOR YOUNG WOMEN’S NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
• Sophomores Mya Christopher, Nikki Freeman, Emily Deuell, and Grace McGuire were selected to compete at the 2018 Young Women’s National Championships from June 25-29.
• The Young Women’s National Championship is a high-level, international structured competition that serves as the selection avenue to the Junior National Camps, U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team and the U.S. Women’s National Development Squad Camp.
BIRCH COMPETES INTERNATIONALLY
Junior Katie Birch, a York, England, native, competed for the England U21 National Team in a series against Ireland in Belfast, Ireland in mid August. Birch was selected to the national team after participating in a development training camp. England won the series.
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 open their home slate next weekend with matches against Dartmouth on Friday, Aug. 31 and Ball State on Sunday, Sep. 2.