The Daily Iowan

Hawkeye field hockey turns head to top-15 opponents

Iowa faces two top opponents in its opening weekend trip to the Tar Heel State.

Iowa+field+hockey+player+Mallory+Lefkowitz+fights+for+the+ball+during+a+match+against+the+Michigan+Wolverines+on+Sunday%2C+Oct.+15%2C+2017.++The+Wolverines+defeated+the+Hawkeyes+3-2.+
Iowa field hockey player Mallory Lefkowitz fights for the ball during a match against the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.  The Wolverines defeated the Hawkeyes 3-2.

Iowa field hockey player Mallory Lefkowitz fights for the ball during a match against the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. The Wolverines defeated the Hawkeyes 3-2.

David Harmantas

David Harmantas

Iowa field hockey player Mallory Lefkowitz fights for the ball during a match against the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. The Wolverines defeated the Hawkeyes 3-2.

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Coming triumphantly out of two scrimmages against Northwestern and St. Louis, the young Iowa field-hockey team is ready to face No. 14 Wake Forest and No. 2 North Carolina this weekend.

“They’re both really, really tough opponents, and we have a lot of respect for both teams, especially North Carolina,” sophomore Maddy Murphy said. “But with the way [we’ve] been progressing this season already with the two scrimmages, which we’ve both won — although both games were really good, [they] weren’t as challenging as the teams we play this week, but it did show us that we are capable of scoring goals, and if we keep to our processes, we should do really well this weekend.”

The Hawkeyes have opened against these two opponents for the past 17 years. Last season, they lost to both, 3-2 (Wake Forest) and 3-0 (North Carolina). The Deacons finished last season with a record of 12-8, and the Tar Heels finished 18-5.

Iowa ended last year with a 7-11 record, going 3-5 in the Big Ten. The team returns its top-two scorers: junior captain Katie Birch (14 goals) and Murphy (11). The two, along with junior captain Sophie Sunderland, were awarded preseason All-Big Ten recognition. Eight freshmen have also have been added to the squad this season.

Between last year’s talent and some new faces, the team hopes to improve its record.

“This team made a huge increase in its commitment of being an elite-level athlete from last year to this year,” head coach Lisa Cellucci said. “We had a very, very young team last year, still quite young — if you think about it, we only have three seniors. A lot of the people who contribute are in the freshman [or] sophomore class, so just really making a commitment to the standards to how we practice, how we train, and just how we approach everything we do, and I think that’s going to make a huge increase in the results you see on the field.”

Along with an increase in commitment, Murphy believes the team dynamic has made positive strides this summer, which has the potential to spark success.

“I think the main difference is just our relationships off the field,” Murphy said. “I think over the summer, we really built together — getting to know each other and becoming really close friends. I think that was really brought forward through a lot of work we did without the sport, just getting to know one another, with the coaches as well, just spending a lot of time together, and everyone came back early from summer to train together, so that was really fun.”

The Hawkeyes will face Wake Forest on Saturday, then turn around and take on North Carolina on Aug. 26. Both games will be played at 1 p.m.

Kicking off the season with two top-15 opponents from the Tar Heel State is not an easy task, but it’s something the Hawkeyes have done before, so they know what to expect.

“We’ve played them the last two years I’ve been here, and they’re both very strong, very hard opponents,” Sunderland said. “We know they’re going to bring a lot of pressure, and we’ve been practicing with that this week. We’ve done lots of video on them, and so we’re going to come in prepared.”

Comments

comments

Navigate Left
  • Hawkeye field hockey turns head to top-15 opponents

    Field Hockey

    The young Iowa field hockey team turns heads

  • Hawkeye field hockey turns head to top-15 opponents

    Field Hockey

    Iowa field hockey falls to Wake Forest in first round of NCAA Tournament

  • Hawkeye field hockey turns head to top-15 opponents

    Field Hockey

    Iowa field hockey continues impressive season at NCAAs

  • Hawkeye field hockey turns head to top-15 opponents

    Field Hockey

    By the Numbers: Iowa field hockey heads to NCAAs

  • Hawkeye field hockey turns head to top-15 opponents

    Field Hockey

    Iowa field hockey falls to Maryland in Big Ten Tournament Championship

  • Hawkeye field hockey turns head to top-15 opponents

    Field Hockey

    Photos: Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament Championship (11/4/18)

  • Hawkeye field hockey turns head to top-15 opponents

    Field Hockey

    Hawkeye field hockey downs Michigan, earns championship berth

  • Hawkeye field hockey turns head to top-15 opponents

    Field Hockey

    Photos: Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament Semifinals (11/2/18)

  • Hawkeye field hockey turns head to top-15 opponents

    Field Hockey

    Hawkeye field hockey set to face second-seeded Wolverines in Big Ten semifinals

  • Hawkeye field hockey turns head to top-15 opponents

    Field Hockey

    Hawkeye field hockey victorious in Big Ten quarterfinal

Navigate Right