October 2017

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Page 118 of 118

119 "Her role is to develop the young players on and off the field," said DiIanni. "We look for her to create the competitive environment that is needed to be successful by holding our team accountable and doing the little things right so we can make a jump this year." A jump would consist of getting the Hawkeyes back to the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2014. Iowa won 14 games during that 2014 season and 20 games the two-plus seasons since. "We're seeing the team grow together and we're getting better," said Stuenkel. "e results don't always show it, but when we leave the field, we're moving forward. is group has had to struggle together, but we've grown together." Stuenkel is taking it upon herself to be a leader. She's trying to get everyone on the same page, moving toward a common goal. "at's something we have to take upon ourselves as a senior class," said Stuenkel, who is one of seven seniors on the roster. "We have to be leaders. Everybody has to be wanting to win and supporting each other whether you're playing or not. It's supporting each other and motivating each other constantly." It starts with Stuenkel, the 5-2 mini-giant, and it resonates with the other seniors. "Every year, Karly has gotten a little more comfortable and has proven you don't have to be 5-foot-9 to be successful in the Big Ten," said DiIanni. "She created a believer in me. e Big Ten is a conference with big, strong athletes; it's a physical conference, but Karly's mind is so quick and fast and she's so technically skilled. "She's competitive in nature, feisty, and has a great deal of stubbornness, which I think is great. Some of the best players have a stubborn streak of refusing to lose or refusing to lower the standards for themselves or her teammates." Her stubborn streak is one of the attributes that has allows Stuenkel to thrive as a Hawkeye.

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