Blast from the Past: 1989 Championship Anniversary

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth story of a five-part series recognizing the University of Iowa field hockey championship season anniversaries. The fourth installment looks at the Hawkeyes’ 1989 team, celebrating 30 years since they advanced to the NCAA Final Four with a 19-2-2 record.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — For the University of Iowa field hockey team, 1989 was a magical year – which might even be an understatement – for a couple of reasons.
First, the team completed the regular season without a loss, going 18-0-2. The Hawkeyes ended the season on a nine-game winning streak, while also boasting a six-game winning streak during the middle of the season. 1989 was also the inaugural year of historic Grant Field, which is part of the field hockey’s storied tradition.
Two-time first team All-American and three-time All-Big Ten honoree, Kris Fillat-Buchanan, remembers to this day how special the 1989 season was.
“1989 was my sophomore year,” Fillat-Buchanan recalled. “I had a lot more confidence and the season felt magical. Our freshman class was great and our seniors were some of the best players in the nation.”
“Winning is always amazing, but winning at home is special when you’re a Hawkeye,” said Fillat- Buchanan about being the first team to play on Grant Field. “It’s hard to put that feeling into words. I remember the stands were full with a sea of black and gold. People sat only a few feet from the sidelines. I was so proud to be a Hawkeye.”
After Iowa’s dominant regular season, the Hawkeyes got to show off and defend Grant Field in the postseason for the first time. Iowa faced Providence in the regional final, winning 5-0 to advance to the NCAA Final Four. It was Iowa’s second of four straight appearances in the Final Four.
The Hawkeyes faced North Carolina in the national semifinal. In a 1-0 loss, Iowa moved onto the consolation game against Northwestern, facing the Wildcats for the third time in 1989.
“Northwestern always stood out to me,” Fillat-Buchanan said. “They were a great team and it was a great rivalry.”
This time the Wildcats got the best of the Hawkeyes. Iowa fell 2-1 to end a historic season in the record books. It also set a precedent for Iowa’s Tradition of Excellence.
“I was only 18 years old in 1989 and turned 19 right before the playoffs,” Fillat-Buchanan said. “I came from a high school where we lost one game in four years. Two years before I got to Iowa they won a National Championship. Two people from my high school were on that 1986 team. What I remember was the expectation that we would win.”
Fillat- Buchanan alongside 1989 first-team All-Americans Cheries Freddie, Kristy Gleason, Erica Richards, and Aileen Trendler continued the momentum of success for the Iowa field hockey program.
The field hockey program’s Tradition of Excellence brings out the best in people and that’s what Fillat- Buchanan remembers the most about 1989 and her time at Iowa.
“It’s always the people and how you feel that you remember,” Fillat- Buchanan said. “As serious at the team was about winning, they are also some of the funniest people, to this day, that I have ever met. Thirty years later and I can’t remember just one fun moment that season – all four years were fun.”

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