Iowa field hockey starts season today with Louisville exhibition

BY DI STAFF | AUGUST 19, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa field hockey team will start its season Friday at noon, when it faces Louisville in an exhibition game at Grant Field.

The Hawkeyes are two years removed from a Final Four appearance, but the team struggled in 2010 and finished with a disappointing 3-14 record.

The Black and Gold have a core group of young players to build around, though. Iowa brings back all but two players from last year's squad and also only returns one senior, making the 2011 roster full of underclassmen.

"Experience is pretty vital to our sport at the college level," 11th-year head coach Tracey Griesbaum said.

Jessica Barnett, who has started all 36 games in her Hawkeye career, looks to be the key contributor for the Hawkeyes on both offense and defense in her junior season.

The team will also be bolstered by forward Sarah Drake and goalkeeper Kathleen McGraw, who were named to the U.S. Under-21 Junior Women's National Squad in July.

Louisville will present a stiff challenge, as the Cardinals ranked as high as No. 8 last fall and finished off the season 13-7.

— by Nick Szafranski

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