Iowa field hockey takes down Hoosiers

BY DI STAFF | NOVEMBER 04, 2011 7:20 AM

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Thursday's first-round Big Ten Tournament game between No. 4-seed Iowa and No. 5-seed Indiana was, Hawkeye head coach Tracey Griesbaum said, "expected to go down to the wire."

The 12th-year coach's prediction came true, and the Hawkeye's 3-2 victory didn't lack drama.

"It was a really highly contested battle," Griesbaum said. "A lot of dramatics. We had a two-goal lead, which was huge. We started off the game really well and executed to get us on the board early. But Indiana kept unbelievable pressure on us; they have players who can finish."

Iowa sophomore Kelsey Mitchell scored just 74 seconds into play to take the early 1-0 lead. Junior Jessica Barnett tallied the Hawkeyes' second goal of the game seven minutes later, but Indiana cut the lead in half when Audra Heilman scored at the 15:32 mark.

Barnett added her second goal of the contest four minutes into the second half. With a two-goal cushion, the Hawkeye defense set out to hold off a furious Hoosier comeback attempt.

Indiana scored at the 60-minute mark, but Iowa buckled down and kept the Hoosiers from scoring despite being down a player for the last five minutes after a Barnett received a yellow card.

The Hoosiers pulled their goalkeeper in order to put an extra player forward and get a last-minute equalizing goal, but the move came too late.

"It put a lot of pressure on, but at that point, we were already having a lot of pressure," Griesbaum said.

The victory catapulted the Black and Gold into a semifinal matchup with top-seeded Michigan. Iowa, ranked No. 11 in the country, will face the No. 7 Wolverines at 9 a.m. today in University Park, Pa.

Iowa didn't fare well in its Oct. 1 visit to Ann Arbor, Mich., losing 2-0.

But Griesbaum said she thinks her team is up to the challenge.

"They're getting ready to play," Griesbaum said. "[Michigan is] a really good team that has had a lot of success this year. They have some seniors who want to win another championship."

Hawkeyes receive Big Ten honors

Three Iowa field hockey players were named to All-Big Ten teams on Thursday, according to a release.

Juniors Sarah Drake and Jessica Barnett were named to the first team, and junior goalkeeper Kathleen McGraw was named to the second team.

"All are very deserving," Griesbaum said in the release. "All had really good years from the beginning; they have been very consistent. They are highly competitive and great leaders. These honors are a credit to our entire team."

The three All-Big Ten selections are the most for Iowa since 2008, when five players on a team that went to the Final Four received the honor.

Barnett has scored all 11 of her goals during the Hawkeyes' current seven-game winning streak. The North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, native has started every game during her Iowa career and was named second-team All-Big Ten in 2010.

Drake is third on the team in goals (8) and points (19). The Ann Arbor, Mich., native was a second-team All-Big Ten selection last season.

McGraw ranks first in the Big Ten in shutouts (5) and save percentage (.782). The Atherton, Calif., native also ranks ninth nationally in goals-against average (1.34) and is sixth in save percentage.

— by Nick Szafranski

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