September 2013

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In Search of No. 23 T By Patrick Sojka he University of Iowa field hockey program boasts one of the richest traditions in the nation. The Hawkeyes have made more appearances in the NCAA Tournament than any other team as a member of the Big Ten Conference (22). UI head coach Tracey Griesbaum is entering her 14th season with the Hawkeyes, and in each of the first 13 years, associate head coach Lisa Cellucci (UI's all-time saves leader) has been by her side. Together, the pair continues to build the Hawkeye tradition, leading Iowa to three Big Ten Tournament Championships (2006, 2007, 2008), one regular-season Big Ten title, six NCAA Tournament appearances, and the 2008 NCAA Final Four. The Hawkeyes will count on 13 returning players and six newcomers to continue to build the Iowa tradition. "Our returners have improved in a lot of areas throughout the spring and summer," said Griesbaum. "The freshmen have been playing at a very high level throughout their scholastic career, so we look forward to them raising the level of our set pieces." At forward, the Hawkeyes welcome back seniors Aubrey Coleman and Kelsey Mitchell, junior Sara Watro and sophomore Natalie Cafone — the four combined for 23 goals a year ago. Newcomers Alissa Campos and Stephanie Norlander provide depth to the front line. "Our forward line has a great mixture of skills, speed, and tenacity," said Griesbaum. "Our goal is to produce more goals from the field than we did last year. "We have two solid midfielders returning with a lot of experience — senior Marike Stribos and junior Dani Hemeon. They have great fundamental skills and are able to eliminate effectively. Junior Brynn Gitt will add depth to the midfield." Hemeon — named to the 2013-14 United States U21 Junior National Squad along with Cafone — led Iowa with 11 goals in 2012, while Stribos was named West Region All-America and second team All-Big Ten. "Isabella Licciardello will be able to contribute to both the midfield and backfield line," said Griesbaum. "Sophie Plasteras will add depth to the midfield line as a freshman. "Our backfield will have Karli Johansen and Niki Schultheis leading the way. Dani Peirson and Liz Leh will be able to play on both sides of the field within our defensive unit." Johansen and Schultheis are veterans who have combined to play 104 career contests. Freshmen Chandler Ackers and Jessy Silfer round out the backfield in front of the Iowa goalkeepers. "Fifth-year senior Kelsey Boyce and freshman Alexandra Pecora will keep the defense organized and feisty as they protect the goal," said Griesbaum. "We will be spending a lot of time training our set pieces," Griesbaum added. "We have athletes who have great specialty skills. Our penalty corner offense will need to produce at a high percentage to take pressure off the backfield. We have a solid core of players returning to have a very stingy defensive penalty corner." Returnees Johansen, Stribos, Hemeon and Cafone will play on both offensive and defensive penalty corners as Iowa opens its season Aug. 30 against Bucknell in Easton, Pa. The Hawkeyes open their home slate, Sept. 7-8, hosting the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Grant Field. 35

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