The No. 8-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team opens the 2019 season at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Hawkeyes face No. 10 Wake Forest on Friday, followed by a match against No. 1 North Carolina on Sunday. Friday’s game is set for 2:30 p.m., while Sunday’s matchup will begin at 1 p.m. (CT).
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.
• View live video on BTN+, which requires a paid subscription.
ROSTER AT A GLANCE
• The Hawkeyes return 18 letterwinners from last season.
• 10 of Iowa’s 18 letterwinners saw action in all 21 contests during the 2018 season.
• Iowa welcomes four freshman, including Amy Gaiero, Sofie Stribos, Esme Gibson, and Ellie Flynn.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING — TEAM STATS
• Iowa scored 51 goals last season, while scoring four or more goals in four games.
• Iowa’s 2.43 goals per game were just shy of last year’s average of 2.50, wherein the team played three more games than the prior season.
• The Hawkeyes had 41 assists and averaged 1.95 per game, which was the second most in the Big Ten.
• Iowa allowed an average of 1.10 goals per game, best for third in the Big Ten.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING — INDIVIDUAL STATS
• Second Team NFHCA All-American Katie Birch led the team in assists (14), shots (56), and shots on goal (34). Birch’s 14 goals were the third most in the Big Ten.
• Junior Maddy Murphy led the team in goals (13) on 52 shots and had a team high 33 points,. The NFHCA First Team All-West Regional selection had a team-leading four 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. 27.
• Birch, a senior midfielder from York, England, earned NFHCA second team All-American recognition after starting all 18 games and recording team highs in assists (10) — the fourth most in the Big Ten a season ago. She recorded 56 shots to tally 26 points. This is the third straight year Birch has earned preseason honors by the Big Ten Conference.
• Murphy, a junior forward, started all 18 games last year and recorded 13 goals and 33 points. The Riana, Tasmania, native was named to the NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad and earned NFHCA first team All-West Region honors and first team All-Big Ten honors last season. Murphy led the team with four game-winning goals.
• Sunderland, a senior midfielder, earned second team All-Big Ten honors by posting career highs in goals (7), assists (5), and points (19) during her junior year last season. The Ipswich, England, native, recorded her first career hat trick in Iowa’s 7-1 win over Ball State. Last season’s selection to the All-West regional roster was the first of her career.
HAWKEYES IN THE BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE
• This year marks the 18th year for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, which began in 2002.
• The Hawkeyes are 6-8 in their last 14 Big Ten/ACC Challenge matches. In last year’s event, Iowa defeated No. 14 Wake Forest, 2-1, but fell to No. 2 North Carolina, 1-2.
SCOUTING WAKE FOREST
• Wake Forest was 13-10 last season. The Demon Deacons earned an NCAA Tournament appearance and made the Final Four, falling to North Carolina.
• Head coach Jennifer Averill, who owns a 374-186-3 (.667) record at Wake Forest, is in her 28th season.
• The Demon Deacons are led by seniors Isla Bint, Kelsey Gill, and Jess Pianko. Wake Forest returns 15 athletes from the 2018 season.
IOWA VS. WAKE FOREST — THE SERIES
• Wake Forest leads the all-time series, 12-7.
• Iowa has won seven of the last eight matchups. Last season, Iowa defeated Wake Forest in the season opener 2-1, with goals scored by Katie Birch and Maddy Murphy in the first half. Wake Forest’s lone goal came late in the second half.
SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA
• North Carolina went 23-0, won the ACC Conference Championship, and NCAA Tournament with a 2-0 victory over Maryland.
• Head coach Karen Shelton is in her 38th year at North Carolina and owns a 669-164-9 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 ten years.
IOWA VS NORTH CAROLINA — THE SERIES
• The Tar Heels lead the all-time series, 28-3. Last season, Iowa fell in overtime 1-2 to the Tar Heels. Maddy Murphy scored Iowa’s lone goal in the first half which took the lead. But North Carolina won the game with an overtime goal in the 78th minute.
RANKED AMONG US
Ten of Iowa’s 2019 opponents are ranked in the top-25 of the Penn Monto/NFHCA Preseason Rankings (8/27). They include: No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Maryland, No. 3 Duke, No. 7 Michigan, No. 9 Penn State, No. 10 Wake Forest, No. 12 Louisville, No. 14 Ohio State, No. 15 Northwestern, and No. 19 Rutgers.
3 HAWKEYES SELECTED FOR YOUNG WOMENS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
• Junior Nikki Freeman and sophomores Leah Zellner and Meghan Conroy were selected to participate at the U-21 Junior National Championship. The event took place at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from June 14-18.
• This appearance was Freeman’s second at the Young Women’s National Championship, and first for Conroy and Zellner.
• 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
Senior Katie Birch, a York, England, native, competed for the England National Team during the Junior European Championships series matches against Germany, Belgium, Belarus, and Russia. Birch was selected to the national team after participating in a development training camp. The series of matches were played in Valencia, Spain.
• England finished 6th in the final standings.
IOWA IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Hawkeyes have been selected to the NCAA Tournament 23 times in program history — the most of any school as a member of the Big Ten Conference. The Hawkeyes are 26-24 all-time in tournament play, including 9-6 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.
• In 2018, Iowa faced Wake Forest, falling 1-2. Wake Forest would go on to earn a Final Four appearance and lose to eventual champion North Carolina.
The Hawkeyes open their home slate against Central Michigan on Friday September, 6 at 3 p.m. (CT). The team returns to Grant Field again on Sunday to face Columbia at 1 P.M.