Blast from the Past: 1999 Championship Anniversary

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a five-part series recognizing the University of Iowa field hockey championship season anniversaries. The second installment looks at the Hawkeye’s 1999 team, celebrating 20 years since they won the regular season Big Ten Championships.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The tone for the 1999 University of Iowa field hockey season was set early.
At the team’s preseason retreat, one of the final activities the Hawkeyes were involved in was a ropes course. Not one to let her student-athletes have all the fun, head coach Beth Beglin took her turn in the man-made jungle.
While sliding down the final zipline, the veteran coach let her team know what she expected.
“See you in Boston!”
Three months later, with a 2-0 win over North Carolina, the Hawkeyes fulfilled their leader’s prophecy by advancing to the Final Four.
“Everything that could have gone right for our program did — all the pieces fell into place,” Beglin said. “It was one of the most fun years I had.”
The season started well for the Hawkeyes, who won their first 10 games. In that stretch, the Hawkeye defense racked up five shutouts, including a 2-0 win over No. 2 Penn State.
Iowa dropped its only game of the regular season at No. 9 Michigan, but turned around and won its last six, including a late-season win over the Wolverines at Grant Field. The Hawkeyes won the Big Ten regular-season title.
At the Big Ten Tournament, the Hawkeyes advanced to the championship game, but again fell to the Wolverines, 2-1.
Then came NCAA Regionals in Iowa City, where Iowa advanced to the Final Four with a 3-2 win over Kent State and a 2-0 shutout of North Carolina.
At the Final Four, the Hawkeyes gave eventual national champion Maryland everything it could handle, but fell in double overtime, 2-1.
For three years, goalkeeper Kelly Duley’s time in the cage was in practice. She was playing behind all-time saves leader and current head coach Lisa Cellucci.
Druley led the nation for most of 1999 in all goalkeeping statistics, and ended up with a 19-3 record, a .846 save percentage and a .911 goals against average. In the process, Druley was named first-team all-Big Ten, first-team all-West Regional, and first-team NFHCA all-American. She was named HockeyPoint’s Division I Player of the Week and the Big Ten Player of the Week after shutting out No. 2 Penn State and not allowing a goal in Iowa’s five-goal victory over No. 5 Ohio State.
“At the beginning of the season, we wondered who would be our goalkeeper,” Beglin said. “Then Kelly Druley steps up and has a career season. It’s remarkable seeing what she did after sitting behind Lisa for three years.”
Druley led eight of the 11 Hawkeye starters named to the All-Big Ten team. Seniors Quan Nim, Sarah Thorn, and Druley were members of the first team, while Alycyn Freet, Natalie Dawson, Anita Miller, Kelly Dolan and Lesley Irvine were named to the second team.
Midfielder Tiffany Leister was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year after ranking second on the team in goals (12) and among the top of the Big Ten in scoring.
Beglin brought home Big Ten Coach of the Year honors for the fourth time in her career.
The Hawkeyes weren’t just represented on the all-Big Ten teams, but on the All-American squads as well.
Druley, Nim, and Thorn were all named to NFHCA All-America teams. Druley was a first-team goalkeeper, while Nim made the second team as a forward and Thorn was a third-team back.
Regionally, sophomore midfielder Anita Miller was named a first-team West Region All-American along with Druley, Nim and Thorn. Seniors Freet and Irvine were named to the West Region All-American second team.