October 2016

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95 T he University of Iowa field hockey team's season is in full swing. e Hawkeyes are 7-5 overall and 1-3 in conference play with six regular-season games remaining. One thing that has stood out to UI head coach Lisa Cellucci this season is junior Melissa Progar and her im- provement over the previous year. "Melissa has always been an outstanding player," said Cel- lucci. "She was highly recruit- ed, but from her sophomore season to this year she made major transformations in her physical fitness and strength, and simplified her game. She has always been a good elimi- nator, but we needed her to eliminate once or twice and then go forward and she took that to heart. Her sum- mer preparation was awesome." Progar plays the center midfield position for the Hawkeyes, which makes her an asset to the offense as well as the defense. e central midfield posi- tion not only contains important offensive and de- fensive responsibilities, but it is also makes Progar the bridge between the two. "Her role is to be a steady presence in the midfield and be one of the key distributors to help get the ball incrementally up the field, as well as be able to defend in transition," said Cellucci. "She is also a key part to our penalty corners. She is huge in all facets of our game." e York Town, Virginia, native has started every game at midfield the past two seasons, and was named to the Big Ten Preseason Watch List this season. Over the past year, Progar's fitness has been an area of improvement. "is past summer I focused on my fitness and confidence," said Progar. "I wanted to come into preseason as ready as I could be. Being named to the preseason watch list means a lot. It means that my hard work is paying off." Progar's focus on fitness has shown on the field as the junior has played 821 minutes out of a possible 842 through 12 games. It has also stood out to her teammates. "She is in the center of the field for us, so she is like the engine of the team," said senior Sophie Plasteras. "She plays full games at a high level and she keeps things go- ing both offensively and defensively for us." Progar plays a big role for the Hawkeyes and they would like to see her build off her recent improve- ments as the season rolls on, as well as when she prepares for her final season at Iowa. "She is cray and creative with the ball, and she is also poised. ose two things are awesome, and now she's added the physical fitness piece and has great speed so that combination is lethal," said Cellucci. "I want her to continue to progress and keep her game simple. We want the team to follow her, so we are looking for her to improve her vocal leadership." OCTOBER SCHEDULE Oct. 7 Central Michigan 3 p.m. Oct. 9 UC Davis 1 p.m. Oct. 14 at Northwestern 3 p.m. Oct. 16 at Michigan noon Oct. 21 Michigan State 3 p.m. Oct. 27 at Ohio State 2:30 p.m.

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