Field hockey battles Hoosiers


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Make the trip down Melrose Avenue, turn right on Mormon Trek Boulevard, and cruise through Prairie Meadow Drive to Grant Field on a weekday afternoon — a recent change is palpable.

No, it’s not the gradually dropping temperatures.

It’s the gradually rising confidence and energy surrounding the Iowa field-hockey team.

Iowa (3-5) will look to extend its two-game winning streak today when it takes on Indiana (5-4) in a Big Ten matchup in Iowa City. Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m.

A two-game win streak may not be monumental, but for a young team that started off the season by losing four of its first five, it seems that way.

Iowa won the second of those two games on Sunday, when the Hawkeyes traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich., for their Big Ten opener against Michigan. Iowa went into halftime down 2-0. It left the Wolverines’ Phyllis Ocker Field with a 3-2 victory.

Iowa head coach Tracey Griesbaum didn’t play down the importance of her team’s ability to battle back and earn a victory.

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“I thought we did a really good job of recognizing the changes that needed to be made on the field [in the second half],” she said. “The players really made it happen out there. The coolest part was it just didn’t seem like they ever doubted themselves coming back. Their posture and the way they carried themselves on the field — they were very confident.”

Griesbaum’s highest praise was reserved for the performance of her seniors. The three — Meghan Beamesderfer, Tricia Dean, and Jess Werley — put themselves in the box score next to at least one of Iowa’s three goals.

Beamesderfer fired in two goals on corners, and Werley notched her team-leading seventh score of the season on a deflection. Dean recorded assists on all three goals, but she credited her teammate for rattling the cage twice on corners.

“I just had to make the stop,” she said. “The shooter [Beamesderfer] was just awesome and on point with those shots.”

After not finding the net at all in her first six games, Beamesderfer has scored four goals in her last two.

It’s no coincidence.

Recently, she has spent time working on her corner shots with Griesbaum. The results are starting to accumulate.

“That has really helped me get more fluid with my swing,” Beamesderfer said. “The little things are coming together. I just wasn’t doing things appropriately at first. I think that now I’m starting to fix them, it’s just going to get better from here.”

The Hawkeyes hope the same will be true for the rest of the team. This weekend’s games — against Indiana today and against California on Oct. 4 — present an opportunity for Iowa to get back to a .500 record for the first time since Aug. 28, when Iowa started 2009 with a clean slate.

Although it’s early in conference play, the Hawkeyes are one of only three teams with an unblemished Big Ten record.

As Griesbaum said, the Hawkeyes may share the lead now, but “if you keep winning, you’re not going to share it.”

“[Getting to .500] has to be the goal,” she said. “You aren’t even eligible for the NCAA Tournament unless you’re .500. We don’t want to have that be our focus and be in the forefront, but I think that’s my role as the leader of the program — to know where we need to get.”

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