Commentary: Senior trio flourishes in new roles


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The term “heart and soul” is often overused in sports.

Still, it’s hard to find a better term to describe what seniors Meghan Beamesderfer, Tricia Dean, and Jess Werley have meant to the Iowa field-hockey team this season.

Following a 2008 campaign in which Iowa graduated eight players who combined for 61 of the team’s 76 goals, the senior trio has had to be exactly that.

After scoring a combined three goals a year ago, the three have put the ball in the net on 18 occasions this season.

Werley’s team-leading seven goals have come on just 14 shots. Beamesderfer, who didn’t record a single goal last year, has scored five goals in Iowa’s last four games.

And Dean, whose six goals and five assists couple to lead Iowa in points (17), most recently scored two goals to help the Hawkeyes capture a 3-2 victory over California on Oct. 4. This came just two weeks after she recorded her first career hat-trick in a 12-0 walloping of St. Louis on Sept. 19.

“She didn’t really ever have to do that for us [before],” Iowa head coach Tracey Griesbaum said following her team’s win on Oct. 4. “But it’s a different year — 2009. She has to. And [Beamesderfer] and [Werley], they have to help us score goals, if not score them themselves.”

Dean’s first goal against California last weekend was a microcosm of what the Hawkeye seniors have done so far.

In the game, Iowa earned itself a penalty corner, and Dean was situated just inside the shooting circle. The Hawkeyes’ set piece didn’t end up the way it was intended, though.

Instead, it turned out to be a classic example of a broken play.

But Dean didn’t panic. In her words, she saw the opening, so she took the shot.

The shot ended up being pretty good.

Despite being nearly 18 yards out from the net, she ripped the ball right past the keeper. The goal, which came at the 7:41 mark of the first half, knotted the score at 1-1.

That goal easily could have not happened.

Another player may have panicked following the broken play. Another player may have not been able to accurately rattle the cage from nearly 18 yards out on an impromptu shot in less than a moment’s notice.

Dean did. And her goal, the first of three straight from the Hawkeyes, helped propel Iowa to a 3-2 triumph.

Then again, with the way Griesbaum’s three seniors have put an Iowa team that includes eight freshmen on their shoulders, it’s hard to be surprised.

“[Dean] trains every day in practice [on her corner shots],” Griesbaum said. “She doesn’t stop on any ball. Her mindset is just like, ‘Who cares, let’s just still put the ball in the net.’ And you’ll see younger players who aren’t as determined just kind of stop playing.

“Tricia is very, very good at staying with everything. If Plan A doesn’t work out, Plan B, she’ll try to make work.”

Beamesderfer, Dean, and Werley may have not been Plan A for the Hawkeye attack in their first three years in Iowa City. And they may not have even been Plan B or C.

But this season, the senior trinity has been called upon to change roles, help produce more offense, and lead an inexperienced group of Hawkeyes.

They’ve answered tremendously.

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