Field Hawks return to Iowa City for two home games


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A 5-1 battering from No. 2 Penn State on Sunday, on the surface, shows how far away No. 12 Iowa field hockey is from being one of the top five teams in the land. But even then, head coach Tracey Griesbaum said, her players aren’t as far off as the score indicated.

She said she was proud of some of things her team did over the weekend, such as coming out strong against No. 14 Drexel on Oct. 12. Even during the match against the Nittany Lions, the head coach acknowledged the competitive back-and-forth in the early goings.

But there wasn’t much to say when the Hawks entered halftime down 3-0.

“You can probably afford a one-goal deficit going into half,” Griesbaum said. “But you can’t afford a three-goal deficit.”

Griesbaum also said the Hawks learned that, against good teams, a game can escape them in a hurry. In much the same way that Iowa’s early season matchup with No. 1 North Carolina got out-of-hand, the Hawkeyes were put on their heels early on and weren’t able to recover.

The idea of being away from home isn’t new to the Hawkeyes. They’ve played 11 of their 14 games away from Iowa City so far this season, posting a record of 7-4 — this includes both away games and those that are at neutral sites.

Three of those losses came at the hands of teams who were playing on their own pitch — Louisville, No. 13 Stanford, and Penn State. This raises the question of whether Iowa plays differently on the road from how it plays at home, where it is undefeated this season.

The players quickly dismissed the idea.

“We don’t let stuff like that factor into our mindset,” senior Jessica Barnett said. “It just came as a shock to the defense. The first two goals came in the first 14 minutes. At that point, it’s like, wake-up call … We just didn’t come out as hard as we wanted to.”

The whole team agrees, though, that what’s in the past shouldn’t be worried about any longer. The Hawkeyes can only continue to learn from the losses. Iowa has responded with a win following each loss so far this season. The team will get a chance to continue that trend on Saturday against Kent State.

What’s crucial about the remainder of the season is that the final four regular-season games for the Hawkeyes will be at home. They have a set this weekend and finish the season with a set of conference games next weekend.

The Hawkeyes believe it’s time to peak just in time for the Big Ten Tournament, which will be held in Iowa City Nov. 1-4.

“Everybody has to know and embrace her role,” senior Sarah Drake said. “We have to be sure to not make the same mistakes as before.”

Barnett said it shouldn’t be difficult to take care of business this coming weekend. The Hawkeyes won’t overlook anybody on the pitch, but being at home will definitely play a role in how the they perform.

“It’s good to be able to be here,” the senior defender said. “We get to sleep in our own beds and stuff like that. It’s the littlest things that make the difference.”

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