Field hockey freshman Annika Herbine shines in Black and Gold

Herbine has become a vital part of the Hawkeye offense, tallying two goals and one assist in six games.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

Iowa field hockey retained all its 2020-21 senior class for the 2021-22 season. To compete this year, midfielder Nikki Freeman and forwards Emily Deuell, Maddy Murphy, and Ellie Holley are using the extra year of eligibility the NCAA granted all its athletes last season because of COVID-19.

With Holley, Murphy, Deuell, and Freeman returning, Iowa’s freshmen have had few chances to compete this season.

One of the few newbies that has hit the pitch for the Hawkeyes this season is Annika Herbine. The freshman, hailing from Macungie, Pennsylvania, has played in all six of the Hawkeyes’ games this year.

Herbine is not one of Iowa’s regular starters, but she is typically one of the first players Hawkeye head coach Lisa Cellucci will sub into a game off the bench.

When she’s been on the field, Herbine has impressed her teammates in her time on the field.

“She’s very fun to have on our team and her hands are so quick,” junior Esme Gibson said. “Her skills are amazing and her ability in small spaces to contribute is amazing.”Herbine has scored two goals and recorded one assist so far this season, but her impact on Hawkeye games can’t always be seen on a box score.

“We knew that recruiting her she was going to make plays, and as soon as she stepped onto the field, she drew a penalty corner, found a great pass, and got a shot off,” Cellucci said.

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Thanks to the encouragement of her veteran teammates, Herbine has quickly adjusted to collegiate life and field hockey.

“I felt really welcome to the team, Herbine said. “They really helped me with my confidence and especially upfront with goalscoring. I couldn’t have done it without them.”

In her first official college match, Herbine scored one of Iowa’s five goals. Her efforts helped the Hawkeyes down then-No. 11 Wake Forest, 5-3, in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Grant Field in Iowa City.

Against Boston Sept. 5, Herbine set up a score for senior defender Lokke Stribos just before halftime. The Hawkeyes beat the Terriers, 4-0.

Herbine’s most recent goal came Sept. 12, as Iowa toppled Saint Louis, 10-0.

Two of Herbine’s fellow freshmen Mia Magnotta and Hillary Cox have yet to participate in a game this season. Lieve Schalk, Ella Wareham, and Jacey Wittel are the other first-years that Cellucci has played this season. Of the three, SSchalk has made the most appearances, while Wareham and Wittel have participated in three and five matches, respectively.

The Hawkeyes’ next two games will come on the road at Indiana Sept. 17 and at Louisville Sept. 19. Iowa’s matchup with Indiana will serve as the Hawkeyes’ Big Ten Conference-opener and stream live on BTN+

Iowa’s first Big Ten games at home will come Sept. 24 and 26 against Penn State.

The 2021 Big Ten Conference Tournament will begin Nov. 4 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The NCAA field hockey championships will kick off Nov. 12.

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