Iowa field hockey bracing for tough opponents

The Hawkeye field hockey team will face a tough schedule, including North Carolina and Wake Forest to open the season.

Iowa+midfielder+Katie+Birch+watches+teammates+during+an+exhibition+game+against+Northwestern+at+Grant+Field+on+Saturday%2C+August+24%2C+2019.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Wildcats+3-2.
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Iowa field hockey bracing for tough opponents

Iowa midfielder Katie Birch watches teammates during an exhibition game against Northwestern at Grant Field on Saturday, August 24, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats 3-2.

Iowa midfielder Katie Birch watches teammates during an exhibition game against Northwestern at Grant Field on Saturday, August 24, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats 3-2.

Jenna Galligan

Iowa midfielder Katie Birch watches teammates during an exhibition game against Northwestern at Grant Field on Saturday, August 24, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats 3-2.

Jenna Galligan

Jenna Galligan

Iowa midfielder Katie Birch watches teammates during an exhibition game against Northwestern at Grant Field on Saturday, August 24, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats 3-2.

Jahlynn Hancock, Sports Reporter

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The beginning of the Iowa field hockey season will not be an easy one. The opening of the season includes two of the toughest teams in the nation: North Carolina and Wake Forest, in addition to an exhibition against Northwestern.

Senior Katie Birch knows the difficulties ahead. Iowa battled both teams last season, losing to North Carolina and beating Wake Forest in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge before falling to the Demon Deacons in the NCAA Tournament, 3-2. The Hawkeyes also fell to Northwestern, 2-0, on Sept. 21.

“[They’re] a great challenge, and it’s a challenge, and they want to attack the challenge in a good NCAA competition,” Birch said.

The offseason has been significantly successfully for the Hawkeyes; they won their scrimmage against St. Louis on Aug. 22. When it comes to the offseason and the transitions to the upcoming season, it can be simplicity that allows the Hawkeyes to have a more successful season and to tamp down on creating inner complications with their season and plays.

Last season, the Hawkeyes performed well in the Big Ten Tournament before falling to Maryland in the championship. For the upcoming season, several tactics have been assessed accordingly in order to have a successful season.

Senior Sophie Sunderland has been around the program for a long time, so the team’s goals will certainly be familiar to her.

After falling to the Tar Heels and Demon Deacons last season, Sunderland recapped the advantages of competing against some of the best squads in the country.

“Against UNC after their initial win at the ACC Championship, they will be able to bring the challenge,” she said.

Following Iowa’s performance at the Big Ten Championship, the Hawkeyes were not so successful in their performance at the NCAA Tournament, losing 3-2 to Wake Forest.

Wake Forest is a successful field-hockey program that has applied pressure to the Hawkeyes and making them a more tactical team in and during their season.

Iowa gets a rematch against the Deacons in its season-opener on Friday in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

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