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Field Hawks face off against Buckeyes at Grant Field

BY CODY GOODWIN | SEPTEMBER 28, 2012 6:30 AM

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The past five games haven’t all been easy for the 11th-ranked Iowa field-hockey team, but they’ve all ended the same: five wins.

What was once a small spark following the loss to then-No. 16 Stanford has erupted into a showing of defensive superiority. The Hawkeyes’ play from the backline and in the net can be credited as the anchor to their current five-game winning streak.

During the last five games, the Hawkeyes have only allowed 2 goals from two different opponents. One of their three shutouts came in the Big Ten opener against No. 22 Michigan State last weekend.
But to think the Hawkeyes will rest on their laurels, with so much hockey left to be played, would assume that they’ve reached their peak at the midway point.

“We still have a lot to work on as a team, and we see that, even in the wins,” senior defender Sarah Pedrick said. “Not getting too caught up in the five-game winning streak is important, because we still have so much to work on.”

Iowa’s defense isn’t the only advantage that’s helped them to a 7-2 (1-0 Big Ten) record. The Hawkeyes’ offense has contributed just as much, spreading around the shots to see more athletes score.

During the Hawks’ winning streak, they’ve put away 16 goals. Dating back to the last seven games, Iowa has tallied 28 goals — 10 of those against Missouri State. Iowa has also outshot its opponents, 108-41, over the last five games. Forty-four of those shots came against Pacific on Sept. 9.

This effort has pleased head coach Tracey Griesbaum, but she doesn’t want to take her foot off the pedal now just because a conference foe is coming into town.

“We’ve taken our preparation very seriously,” she said. “We don’t have a goal-scorer on our team that’s leading the country. We have a balanced attack and a team-minded defensive philosophy, too.”

That balance will come in handy against the visiting No. 18 Buckeyes. Ohio State rides a winning streak of its own into Iowa City, spanning the team’s last six games.

The dominance Ohio State has shown during its last six wins is fairly similar to that of Iowa’s last five games. The defense has been stellar, shutting out two opponents, and surrendering only 1 goal to two other teams. The offense has put up more than enough points (31) to show observers that this streak isn’t a fluke.

Their biggest win during the Buckeyes’ string of victories was against No. 10 Northwestern, where they stole a 3-2 nail-biter in Columbus.

That victory, along with the two following, catapulted Ohio State into the national eye. The Buckeyes’ momentum is something Iowa knows will be a factor in the Sept. 30 game.

But they aren’t worried about stopping it. They’re more worried about just playing their game.

“They’re always a good team, and they always have some really skilled players,” senior goalkeeper Kathleen McGraw said. “We’re just trying to prepare our product and make sure that we’re ready to go come Sunday.”


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