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Hawkeye field hockey beats Louisville in exhibition

BY NICK SZAFRANSKI | AUGUST 22, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa women’s field hockey team saw its first action of the season Aug. 19 and defeated Louisville, 2-1, in an exhibition matchup.

Even though the game won’t count toward the Hawkeyes’ record, but the team says the match-up was more than just practice.

“I thought it was phenomenal,” head coach Tracey Griesbaum said. “We have a wonderful relationship with Louisville, and it was awesome to get this game, because it puts you in a situation that you are going to face in a week [when real games start].”

The Hawkeyes took the early lead in the game when junior Jessica Barnett scored at the 10:43 mark.

“[It was a] good job to get the corner; [teammate] Kelsey [Mitchell] made a great stop, and I just struck the ball well. I knew as soon as I got it off it was going in,” Barnett said. “It was really great to get that first goal in and start off strong.”

Iowa freshman Corinne Allen added another goal 24 minutes into the second half, and Louisville was never able to recover. The Cardinals’ lone goal came with three minutes left in the game on an unassisted shot by Katlyn Soucy.

Griesbaum said the intensity was no different than a regular-season game, but that a variety familiar faces on the Louisville squad created a different aspect to the environment of the game.

“We have a great relationship with them,” the 11-year head coach said. “In the summer, we play in the Midwest High Performance under the U.S. Field Hockey. A lot of these athletes were teammates of the Louisville athletes this summer. Justine Sowry, the head coach of Louisville, was the head coach of the Midwest team, and I was an assistant coach on the staff.

“It’s kind of like a reunion two months later. We are going to try to get them on the regular-season schedule next year.”

Six Hawkeyes — juniors Sarah Drake, Geena Lisiak, and Kathleen McGraw, sophomores Mitchell and Danielle Pierson, and freshman Dani Hemeon — were on the same Midwest High Performance travel team as a trio of Cardinals. Iowa sophomore Aubrey Coleman was selected as a team alternate.

The Black and Gold held their summertime teammates to a total of five shots on goal. With the exception of a defensive lapse at the 67-minute mark that resulted in Louisville’s lone score, Iowa controlled the flow of the game.

“It has been one of our main focuses since last season to really work on our individual defense,” Drake, a forward, said. “Defense is something we warm up with every game, and we practice every single practice.”

The start of the season will officially be on Saturday, when the team heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., to participate in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Hawkeyes will open the tournament against No. 13 Wake Forest and face No. 2 North Carolina on Aug. 28.

“This is definitely going to be a momentum pusher going into the Big Ten/ACC tournament next weekend,” Barnett said. “I know that we wanted to go in with a positive feeling, and we achieved that today.”


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