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Field-hockey team not making excuses

BY JESSIE SMITH | NOVEMBER 01, 2010 7:15 AM

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Disappointing and unacceptable.

Unexpected and unjustifiable.

Just four of the adjectives used by the Iowa field-hockey team following the conclusion of its regular season Sunday at Grant Field.

Head coach Tracey Griesbaum’s squad fell, 3-0, to No. 5 Ohio State. The loss completed the Hawkeyes’ first season without a Big Ten victory.

The 3-13 record marks just the fourth time in the program’s 33-year history that a team finished shy of 10 wins.

When comparing the 2010 season to those in past years, the common justifications — “an off season” and “a rebuilding year” — come to mind.

But the 11th year coach and her squad are not making any excuses.

Griesbaum said those common validations for losing records are not applicable to her team’s performance this season.

“There’s a lot of parity in field-hockey and in sport, but to have a 3-13 season, not in my plan and not acceptable,” Griesbaum said. “It’s absolutely unacceptable to have a season like we had. Last year, we entered the season after losing eight seniors the year before, but we got better the last three weeks of the season and ended up with about a .500 record.

“That’s what I thought this team was capable of this year. To look in the rear-view mirror and see 3-13, no, it’s not at all what I expected or what I thought we could do.”

With a roster that features 82 percent underclassmen, it might be easy to look at the season and say the outcome is to be expected from such a young group. But sophomore Sarah Drake said the Iowa program is so historic and successful for a reason — no seasons are exceptions.

“I think some people would like to pull that [rebuilding-year] card,” she said. “But I think what makes this program so special is that we will not justify a season like this and talk about rebuilding years. I mean I just don’t think that’s a good enough excuse.”

Sophomore Jess Barnett said after a season such as this one, the team is going to do whatever it takes to prevent a similar outcome in the future.

“You don’t want to have another season like this, honestly,” she said. “It’s hard to lose all the time, and I know you try to bounce back from it, but it beats you down mentally and physically. And I think next year, we’ll be more experienced, and I guess all you take from this is looking forward to next season and improving on this one.”

Griesbaum said she and the coaching staff have stayed true to their game plan — a style that she said gives her players room to make mistakes and try new things.

With only the Big Ten Tournament ahead, she said, time will tell how the team can respond to this season’s adversity.

“It’s pretty unacceptable to not have more fire in our eyes than what we have right now,” Griesbaum said. “I think the day to regroup and get back on track is going to be really important. We’ll see, I think people will show their true colors when we come out to practice [today].

“I’ll be able to tell right away if they’ve packed it in or not. And if they’ve packed it in, then I’ll pack them out, or they can go home.”


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