Hawkeyes top Missouri State in final exhibition game

BY DANNY PAYNE | AUGUST 26, 2013 5:00 AM

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After Sunday’s exhibition game against Missouri State, Iowa field-hockey head coach Tracey Griesbaum was glad her team took the victory but didn’t believe the Hawkeyes played as well as they should have.

“We’re going to have to execute better, put more balls in the net — our penalty corners have to be much better — our percentage was no where near acceptable,” the 14th-year head coach said. “But the flip side of it is, a lot of times we don’t create that much opportunity.”

Sophomore Natalie Cafone had similar feelings about her team’s performance.

“It was an entire team effort; we were trying to outwork our opponents,” the native of Fairfield, N.J., said. “I thought we had some nice ball patterns throughout the field, but we could improve in our play, and we’re looking forward to getting better.”

Griesbaum saw her squad convert only 2 out of 18 penalty corners, one by junior Dani Hemeon, which was good for the Hawkeye’s first goal, and one by senior Kelsey Mitchell, which was the team’s fourth tally. Mitchell also recorded another goal, as did freshman Ali Campos.

One of the most evident story lines from the afternoon was the chemistry on the pitch between Cafone, who scored the team’s third goal, and freshman Stephanie Norlander. The freshman narrowly missed scoring after she passed the ball to Cafone and got the feed at the net mouth fewer than 10 minutes into the contest.

“It’s really fun [playing with her],” Norlander said. “I think we both use our speed as our main attack — it’s really fun.”

Griesbaum agreed with Norlander’s statement on their abilities. She said the pair’s similar speed allows them to get to the front field and make plays, but she would have liked to see them finish in Sunday’s contest.

“I think [their chemistry] is really good; I think they just have to execute better … The number of chances they had today and the lack of finishing, that’s not good,” she said. “They’re very in tune with each other … there’s no doubt that they’re fast, they’re athletic, they’re scrappy, they want to score, they’re competitive — it’s amazing, and it’s really exciting to have that kind of speed up front.”

While Norlander and Cafone led the forwards, senior goalkeeper Kelsey Boyce got the start in net for the Hawkeyes Sunday after she and freshman Alexandra Pecora split time in the team’s scrimmage against Ball State on Aug. 22.

Boyce played all of regulation and overtime, while Pecora got the nod to play in the shootout after overtime. Pecora stopped 3 shots and let in 2, while Boyce let 2 out of the 3 Bears shots into the goal.

Griesbaum and her staff have not named a starting net-minder for the season, stating that both student-athletes have strengths and weaknesses that have not made a decision possible at this point.

The Hawkeyes will prepare to improve this week before opening the regular season at Bucknell on Friday.

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