Iowa field hockey returns home to face another ranked opponent


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The ball rolled right toward Aubrey Coleman. She was in perfect position for a reshot after the initial strike failed to find the net.

She lined up her stick and easily placed the ball in the goal. It was the junior’s first goal of the game against Pacific, advancing Iowa’s (4-2) lead to 3-0 at the time.

“It felt good,” she said of her eventual hat trick in a 6-0 rout over Pacific on Sept. 9. “We were all fired up after the Stanford game. I try not to be individual. It was my teammates that set me on fire.”

But the 3 goals weren’t celebrated for very long. Coleman said she’s more focused on carrying the team’s momentum into this weekend. No. 20 Albany (2-3) will come to Grant Field on Sept. 16 for Iowa’s second home game of the season.

The momentum stemmed from Iowa’s 3-2 loss to then-No. 16 Stanford. The Hawkeyes followed that defeat with 9 unanswered goals against Pacific and California-Davis, leading to two shutout victories.

Head coach Tracey Griesbaum talked about how her team shouldn’t need something negative in order to respond with a positive performance — “We have to take care of business,” she said — but did appreciate the way her women came back fighting in the last two games of the road trip.

“We had a lot of contributions from a lot of different players,” Griesbaum said. “A lot more people were stepping up and making better decisions.”

The goal in practice this past week was to keep that same mentality of smart decision making — specifically on the defensive side of the ball.

“We talked about decreasing the number of circle entries they get,” Griesbaum said. “But that’s our theme all the time.”

The theme will come in handy on Sunday. Albany brings a stifling offensive attack, featuring an unusual overhead passing strategy. The Great Danes will put on their aerial show tonight at Grant Field against Missouri State before challenging Iowa on Sunday.

It’s because of this technique that the Black and Gold spent this week altering their defensive plan of action. Griesbaum said they’re going to have to be stingy on defense, and work as a unit in order to counteract Albany’s offense.

From there, Iowa’s transition offense will be the key to keeping the Great Danes away from their net.

“It’s going to take a whole, entire effort from everybody,” the head coach said.

That includes Sarah Drake, who scored her first goal of the season on Sept. 10 against Cal-Davis. She said it felt good to finally put one in the net because she’s used to playing forward and scoring goals for the team.

But her versatility has been more important this season. Drake has played anywhere from the front line to midfield, helping the team out in anyway she can.

The senior doesn’t mind switching up her roles. In fact, her mindset coming into the year was to help her team in any way possible.

Her next chance will be Sept. 16.

“We need to put our best product out there,” Drake said. “It’s another home game. We don’t have many of them this year. I’m excited.”

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