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Hawkeye field hockey demoralized after loss

BY ELDON GIANNAKOUROS | SEPTEMBER 26, 2011 7:20 AM

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What was a shining moment for the No. 13 Iowa field-hockey team — its first Big Ten win in almost two years — seemed light-years away just days later, and the Hawkeyes were left to mull over Sunday's 3-0 loss to No. 10 Penn State.

"It was exciting to win over Michigan State [on Sept. 23], but we want to be the best we can," Rebecca Spangler, one of three team captains, said. "Today, we're not happy with our performance."

The Hawkeyes (8-2, 1-1) stayed competitive throughout the first half, matching the Nittany Lions (7-3, 1-0) in scoring opportunities and managing to slip out of some potentially dangerous situations.

But Penn State charged out of the gates in the second half, unleashing an aggressive offense that resulted in quick goals by sophomore Lauren Purvis and junior Hannah Allison. Both players scored in the first 10 minutes of the half.

"We didn't match their intensity to start the second half," head coach Tracey Griesbaum said. "You can't get behind in Big Ten play and really have expectations of every time being able to come back and win. You've got to be the team that gets on the board first."

Penn State scored its final goal when sophomore Whitney Redding beat Iowa goalkeeper Kathleen McGraw with 15 seconds left in the game.

The Hawkeyes nearly matched Penn State's offense throughout the game, with 10 shots on goal to the Lions' 12, but even their strongest potential scoring runs couldn't shift the score in Iowa's favor.

"The stats were even; we just needed to capitalize on our chances too," Spangler said.

Griesbaum, who was openly dissatisfied with the Hawkeyes' performance, said the team will be working on many things in practice this week as it tries to rebound from what was a one-sided affair.

"We didn't earn the win," she said. "We didn't play a good second half. We were really back on our heels, and we were pretty lethargic in our defense. I didn't think enough people stepped up to make a change fast enough."

The Hawkeyes will try to put the bittersweet weekend behind them as they work to reclaim lost momentum and prepare themselves to face Michigan on Saturday. The Black and Gold will focus on shoring up holes in the defense and looking for ways to turn major scoring opportunities into points.

"We're going to definitely be working on some transition defense, circle defense, and just executing in our offensive circle," Spangler said.


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