The seventh-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team opens the 2023 season at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Hawkeyes will face No. 12 Wake Forest on Friday at 5 p.m. (CT) for a neutral sight matchup at Karen Shelton Stadium before playing top ranked North Carolina on Aug. 27 at 12 p.m.
• Friday’s season opener will be televised on the ACC Network with Leah Secondo and Suzanne Bush on the call, while Sunday’s game will be streamed live on ACCNX.
• Iowa field hockey fans can follow all contests via live stats on hawkeyesports.com. Game updates are also available on Twitter/@iowafieldhockey.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
• The Hawkeyes return seven starters and 14 letterwinners from a team that finished 12-8, advancing to the Elite Eight for the 21st time in program history in 2022.
• The Hawkeyes punched their ticket to the Elite Eight four consecutive times and for the 20th time in program history.
• The Hawkeyes made their fifth straight and 27th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history — the most of any team as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
• Fifth-year senior Esme Gibson (second-team) earned All-Big Ten recognition for the 2022 season.
• Head coach Lisa Cellucci is in her tenth season at the helm of the Hawkeye field hockey program and her 24rd season overall. Cellucci has been a part of 280 Iowa victories and in 2020, she led the program to the Final Four for the 12th time — the first since 2008. Iowa has posted double digit win totals in eight of her ten seasons. The Hawkeyes have won three Big Ten titles (2019, 2019 (BTT), 2021) under her watch.
• Cellucci earned her third straight Big Ten Coach of the Year honor in 2021. She is the first coach in Big Ten history to be named Coach of the Year in three consecutive seasons.
NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
• The Hawkeyes are 29-27 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
• Iowa has qualified for five straight NCAA Tournaments — the longest streak since making a school record 15 consecutive tournaments from 1982-96.
CELLUCCI REACHES MILESTONE
Head coach Lisa Cellucci — the three-time reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year — earned her 100th career victory on Aug. 26, 2022 when the Hawkeyes downed No. 20 Wake Forest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The tenth year head coach is the fourth Hawkeye head coach to reach this 100-win milestone.
IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
The Hawkeyes are ranked 7th in the Week 10 Penn Monto/NFHCA National Division I rankings. The team has been ranked in 72 consecutive polls dating back to the 2016 season.
• Last season, Iowa finished the season 11th.
• In 2021, Iowa was ranked No. 1 for six straight weeks heading into the postseason. The team made its debut at No. 1 on Sept. 28, marking the first time in program history the team had been atop the NFHCA poll.
DOWN GOES NO. 1
Senior Alex Wesneski scored two first-half goals to lead Iowa to a 2-0 shutout victory over top-ranked Northwestern on Sept. 23, 2022. Hawkeyes have downed the No. 1 team in the nation two years in a row and are set to face No. 1 North Carolina this weekend.
• Prior to 2021, Iowa hadn’t defeated a No. 1 ranked team since 2008. The win snapped Northwestern’s 12-game winning streak dating back to last season.
ANNI & GAME WINNERS
Junior Annika Herbine scored in seven of Iowa’s 20 games last season, giving her eight strikes — second-most on the team. Herbine had a team-best four game-winning goals (Wake Forest, Saint Louis, Providence, and Michigan State). Herbine lead the team with 23 points (8 G, 7 A).
• Herbine had her first career multi-goal game against Providence College on Sept. 9, 2022 — a 3-1 Hawkeye win.
In 2022, Iowa scored 18 goals on 91 penalty corner attempts for a 19.8 percent conversion success rate.
• The team has five or more penalty corners in nine of its 20 games.
Four returning Hawkeye position players played the duration of last season and rarely leave the field — Harper Dunne, Esme Gibson, Sofie Stribos, and Lieve Schalk.
Senior Alex Wesneski scored in eight of Iowa’s games of the 2022 season as she leads the team with 11 goals. Wesneski’s 11 strikes have come on just 33 shots.
• The Pennsylvania native had three multi-goal games last season. She scored two goals in back-to-back wins over Boston and Saint Louis on Sept. 2 and Sept. 4 before scoring both goals in Iowa’s 2-0 road win at No. 1 Northwestern, which led to her being named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 26, 2022.
• Wesneski has four multi-goal games in her career.
• Her offensive outburst has nearly tripled her career scoring output. She had four goals entering the 2022 season.
HELPING THE CAUSE
Iowa had 39 assists on its 40 goals in games this season with 10 different players tallying at least one assist. Eight different Hawkeyes have at least two assists on the year.
• For a third straight year, the Hawkeyes boast a roster with 14 upperclassmen, including two fifth-year seniors, five seniors and six juniors.
• Fifth-year senior Sofie Stribos and senior Harper Dunne have started in 56 or more consecutive games.
Sofie Stribos – 58
Harper Dunne – 56
Leive Schalk – 38
A STORIED HISTORY
• The Hawkeyes have made 28 NCAA Tournament appearances in program history — the most of any school as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
• Iowa has made 12 NCAA Final Four appearances, including winning the 1986 NCAA Championship.
• The program’s 30 NCAA Tournament victories and 12 NCAA Final Fours are the most of any school as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
SCOUTING WAKE FOREST
• The Demon Deacons are ranked 12th in the NFHCA preseason rankings. Wake Forest went 15-6 last season after going 7-10 in 2021.
• Two Wake Forest players — Nat Friedman and Ellie Todd — were named to the Preseason All-ACC Team. Friedman is a three-time All-ACC selection and is entering her final year of eligibility.
• Todd earned Second Team All-ACC honors at the conclusion of last season and helped Wake Forest finish second in the ACC in goals allowed.
SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA
• The Tar Heels are ranked No. 1 nationally in the preseason NFHCA poll after going undefeated last season.
• Erin Matson, the most decorated player in Carolina field hockey history, is in her first year as head coach after graduating from UNC in December 2022. She replaced Karen Shelton, who retired after 42 years at the program’s helm.
• UNC had two players — Sietske Brüning and Ryleigh Heck — earn Preseason All-ACC Team honors.
• North Carolina went 21-0 overall last season. The Tar Heels defeated previous NCAA Champion Northwestern, 2-1, in the NCAA Tournament Championship.
• The Hawkeyes went 1-1 at the 2022 Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Iowa City, downing No. 20 Wake Forest (2-1) while falling to No. 2 North Carolina (2-3).
• In 2021, it was the first time in school history that Iowa went 2-0 in the Challenge.
• Iowa is 10-13 all-time against the Demon Deacons. The Hawkeyes have won 10 of the last 12 meetings in the series, including winning, 2-1, in Ann Arbor in 2019 and 5-3 in Iowa City 2021.
• The Hawkeyes defeated Wake Forest in, 2-1, double overtime last season.
• The Hawkeyes are 4-32 all-time against North Carolina. Iowa defeated the Tar Heels, 3-1, in 2021 to knock off the top-ranked team in the nation. It was the team’s first win over UNC since 2008.
The Hawkeyes travel to Albany, New York to face Fairfield at 1 p.m. on September 1st for a neutral sight game before facing UAlbany at 11 a.m. on September 3rd.