Iowa field hockey’s Annika Herbine leads the charge

The forward has scored five goals and dished out four assists in six games to start the season.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Iowa forward Annika Herbine moves the ball past a St. Louis defender during a field hockey game between Iowa and St. Louis at Grant Field in Iowa City on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Billikens, 6-0. Herbine recorded one goal and one assist.

Grant Hall, Sports Reporter

Iowa field hockey’s Annika Herbine has stepped up in a big way during her sophomore campaign.

The Macungie, Pennsylvania, native has netted five goals and dished out four assists en route to a team-leading 14 points through six games this season. She shares the team lead with junior Alex Wesneski.

Herbine notched seven points for last season’s Elite Eight squad as a freshman. She appeared in all 20 games, coming off the bench each time.

Associate head coach Michael Boal said the Iowa coaching staff appreciates the scoring prowess Herbine provides this season after she had a productive offseason.

“We’ve been able to see her on the score sheet, that’s for sure,” Boal said. “We need her to continue doing that.”

RELATED: Iowa field hockey’s Alex Wesneski off to hot start

Herbine jumped to the top of the Hawkeye season scoring column with a huge five-point game against Providence on Sept. 9. She recorded two second-half goals and an assist against the Friars.

Her first goal of the afternoon jump started the Iowa offensive attack after the Hawkeye defense let up a score a minute before halftime to head into the halftime break tied up at one apiece. Herbine took matters into her own hands just 53 seconds after the intermission, scoring unassisted to give the Hawkeyes an advantage they would not squander.

“It was just a rebound, OP [fifth-year senior Olivia Frazier] hit it, and then it hit the goalkeeper,” Herbine said. “Then I kind of just pushed it in, which was a great boost of momentum for the team.”

Herbine’s final goal of the day, recorded 11 minutes into the third quarter, may have been the highlight of the Hawkeyes’ season thus far.

Sophomore Ella Wareham, a rotational midfielder, chased down a pass seemingly headed out of bounds and saved it on the boundary line, earning cheers from the home crowd. Seconds after Wareham’s hustle, Herbine scored off an assist from senior Sofie Stribos.

Although Stribos was the only player credited in the box score, Herbine made sure to shout out Wareham in a postgame interview.

“That goal would never have occurred if Ella didn’t bust her butt to get that ball,” Herbine said.

Much like Herbine shouted out Wareham, her teammates and coaches have showered “Anni” with praise after the Hawkeyes’ recent wins.

Fifth-year senior and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Anthe Nijziel said Herbine is extremely talented.

“Anni is great,” Nijziel said. “She’s very savvy in the front field. She has really great skills, and she knows how to play the game. She’s such a great addition to our front line.”

Iowa head coach Lisa Cellucci said Herbine was one of the players she expected to make a significant leap after last season.

“I think she has a lot of confidence right now,” Cellucci said. “She’s going to keep building off that…. [She’s] been putting out great performances.”

Herbine’s talent has not been noticed only in Iowa City, throughout the Big Ten, or back home in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. The sophomore striker has been invited to the 2023 USA Field Hockey U21 and Development Squad Selection Camp in Colorado Springs.

Tryouts will be held in December 2022 or January 2023, and Herbine may not be alone in “Little London.” Fellow Hawkeyes Mia Magnotta and Frazier are on the shortlist of roughly fifty candidates.