1986 field hockey nat’l champs honored during Iowa victory


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The greatest accomplishment in a storied program’s history was honored on Sunday, 25 years later.

At halftime of the Iowa field-hockey team’s 3-0 win over UMass on Sunday, the 1986 Hawkeye national-championship team — and newly inducted Iowa Athletics Hall of Famer Mary Koboldt — were greeted with applause as they took midfield.

“It was a really cool experience to have the alumni there at the game,” current junior Jessica Barnett said. “It allows you to understand and see the great tradition that this program has, as well as the pride they all have in being a Hawkeye.”

Judith Davidson, who was among the five former Hawkeyes honored, coached the team to a 19-2-1 record that special season, when the Black and Gold defeated New Hampshire, 2-1, in the national-championship game. Iowa won 15 of its final 16 games and knocked off Big Ten rivals Northwestern in the quarterfinals and Penn State in the Final Four.

“This program is very storied,” 12-year head coach Tracey Griesbaum said. “[Iowa’s legacy] is the ’86 team, because it is the sole national championship we have in our program … They set the tone with the championship, and it really has been carried on. I think that we have been trying to keep up that reputation and that standard.”

Since winning the title in 1986, the Iowa program has maintained a high level of success.

Despite not adding another championship, the field-hockey Hawkeyes have won six Big Ten regular-season titles and four Big Ten Tournament titles and made a Final Four appearance in 2008.

The applause didn’t stop when the ceremony ended, as the Hawkeyes — up 2-0 at the break — finished off UMass with a second-half goal from Kim Scraper.

Iowa applied the pressure all game long; the squad finished with 27 shots compared with the Minutewomen’s four.

“One of our main focuses offensively was to sustain the attack today,” Barnett said. “We were definitely able to achieve that. Our forwards did a great job of putting the defense under a lot of pressure, forcing big turnovers in the front field. In the second half, we were able to transfer the ball more through the middle of the field and connect passing upfield as well.”

With the win, the Hawkeyes have already equaled their total number of victories from last season.

Iowa now boasts a 3-1 record, and the 2010 team finished with 14 losses. The Black and Gold sit at No. 23 in the current national field-hockey rankings, and the Hawks are likely to move up after knocking off three top-30 teams in the last two weeks.

Iowa easily defeated No. 25 Kent State, 7-3, on Sept. 2 at Grant Field.

“We are definitely really excited about how the weekend went,” junior Geena Lesiak said. “We wanted to work on putting a whole 70-minute game together and not having any big lapses where we lose momentum, and we did that.”

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