No. 8 Hawkeyes Return to Grant Field for Home Openers

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The eighth-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team opens the 2019 home slate this weekend. The Hawkeyes host Central Michigan this Friday at 3 p.m. (CT) at Grant Field, followed by Columbia on Sunday at 1 p.m. (CT). Admission is free.
• Back to School Night [Friday]: Fans are encouraged to bring new or lightly used school supplies that will be donated to the Iowa City school district. Phone slip grips will be available for those who donate, along with magnets, posters, and more.
• Sundae Sunday: Free ice cream cones while supplies last.
Iowa field hockey fans can follow all contest via live stats on 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.
• Both games will be streamed live on BTN+, which requires a paid subscription or use BTN ToGo for free access on campus.
No. 8 Iowa faced two top-10 opponents last week at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In Friday’s game versus No. 10 Wake Forest, the Hawkeyes rallied in the 52nd minute to tie the game with a goal from freshman Sofie Stribos, forcing overtime. Senior Sophie Sunderland scored a sudden victory goal, resulting in Iowa’s first win of the season.
In Sunday’s matchup versus top-ranked and defending national champion North Carolina, Iowa took the lead in the third period with a goal from freshman Sofie Stribos. The Hawkeyes held the Tar Heels scoreless until the final minutes of the fourth period, where UNC scored two back-to-back goals in quick succession to win.

• Central Michigan was 2-16 last season, with wins over Ball State and Saint Louis. This past weekend, CMU defeated Colgate 4-1 and Saint Louis 3-0.
• Head Coach Catherine Ostoich came to CMU from Indiana, where she served as an assistant coach for the 2017 season. She was the head coach at Missouri State in 2016, and an assistant coach at Davidson College in North Carolina from 2014-15.
• The Chippewas are led by seniors Georgina Minta, Sarah Mesko, and Abigail Ebersole for the 2019 season.
• Columbia was 8-9 last season. The Lions were 2-5 in Ivy League play with wins over Brown and Cornell.  
• Head coach Caroline Nelson-Nichols is a former U.S. National Team member and two-time Olympian. Nelson-Nichols completed her fourth season as Columbia’s head coach and sixth with the university in 2018. She was named head coach in 2015 after spending three years on the sidelines as an assistant coach. She became the fourth coach in program history.
• The Lions are led by seniors Emma Wiklund, Maaike Blindenbach, Kelly McCarthy, and Jennifer Trieschman for the 2019 season.
• The Hawkeyes lead the series 11-0 against the Chippewas since their first meeting in 1982. Iowa is 4-0 at home in the seires. In the team’s last meeting, Iowa defeated CMU 11-0.
• Sunday’s meeting against Columbia will be the first time in program history the two teams have met.
• 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.
• All of Iowa’s goals have come in the third period or later, averaging 1.50 goals per game in its first two showings. 
• All of Iowa’s seven saves have come in the first three periods, four of which occurred in the third period.
• The Hawkeyes have registered 18 total shots while holding their opponents to a near identical 17 shots.
• The Hawkeyes have made aggressive pushes in the final periods on corners with 6-of-7 occurring in the final two periods.
• Freshman Sofie Stribos leads the team in goals (2), followed by senior Sophie Sunderland (1) who recorded the overtime, game winning goal against No. 10 Wake Forest.
• Lokke Stribos and Meghan Conroy are tied for the team lead in assists (1).
• Senior goalkeeper Leslie Speight recorded six saves in her first two outings, four of which came against No. 1 North Carolina.
• 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.
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.
• 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. 
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.
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 2-1. Wake Forest would go on to earn a Final Four appearance and lose to eventual champion North Carolina.
The Hawkeyes host another set of weekend home games against California on Friday (Sept. 13) at 3 p.m. (CT) and No. 3 Duke on Sunday (Sept. 15) at 1 p.m. (CT). Admission is free.