The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Column | Underclassmen show bright future for Iowa field hockey

The Hawkeyes are set to potentially return nine key players from this year’s NCAA Tournament team.
Henry Tran
Iowa’s Miranda Jackson fends off an attacker to keep control of the ball during a field hockey game between Iowa and Michigan State on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans, 3-1.

The NCAA announced placements for the national field hockey tournament, and the No. 8 Iowa Hawkeyes will face No. 10 Louisville in the Evanston Regional on Friday at 2:30 p.m. 

The Hawkeyes and Cardinals have already played each other this season, with Iowa coming out on top, 2-1, at Trager Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Ahead of Friday’s matchup, it’s time to look into what the Hawkeyes have accomplished so far this season. 

This was my first year covering field hockey, and I had no idea what to expect. I knew that the Hawkeyes had a solid program but had no idea how intense the sport was in the Big Ten.

Iowa is among six other Big Ten teams in the latest rankings by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. 

With that much competition each year, it made me realize how hard it is to win in this conference. But it seems like the Hawkeyes don’t have a problem doing that year in and year out. 

The Iowa field hockey team opened the season with questions. Head coach Lisa Cellucci was in charge of replacing four starters on a team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.

Helping replace the roster was a class of eight rookies, who surprised fifth-year forward Sofie Stribos with their readiness to adapt to Big Ten competition. 

“They knew a lot and were very prepared,” Stribos said of the first-years. “I am impressed by how well they have adapted and how hardworking they are as players. They have raised my standard in so many ways.”

The rookies have been a big reason for the Hawkeyes’ success. 

One first-year standout was forward Dionne van Aalsum. Hailing from Castricum, Netherlands, she made her name known right away across the country. 

She currently leads the country with 27 goals and 3.53 points per game, having no trouble at all adjusting to the collegiate level. 

She was recognized for her talents throughout the season, earning three Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors, two Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week recognitions, and two NFHCA Player of the Week awards. 

Another rookie who stepped up was Miranda Jackson. 

The forward out of England produced four assists and five shots on the season. Her 14 points were good for third-best on the team. 

With the amount of success the Hawkeyes found with such a mix of veteran and young talent, it would be wrong to call this season a failure — despite the early exit in the conference tournament. 

This group of underclassmen will only develop under the guidance of Cellucci. 

The Hawkeyes are poised to return potentially nine key players from this year’s squad that was ranked No. 1 for four weeks straight. 

Entering the season with a lot of questions and then making the NCAA Tournament is considered a good season in my eyes. Give this roster a year or so to develop, and they will only improve.

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About the Contributors
Jake Olson, Sports Reporter
Email: [email protected] Jake Olson is a Sports Reporter for The Daily Iowan. In his three years with the paper, he has covered everything from rowing to basketball. He is studying journalism and mass communication with a minor in sports and rec management.
Henry Tran
Henry Tran, Graphic Designer & Photojournalist
Henry is a third-year student at The University of Iowa majoring in 3D design.