No. 13 Hawkeyes set to host Big Ten/ACC Challenge


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The 13th-ranked Iowa field-hockey squad is slated to host the 2013 Big Ten/ACC Challenge this weekend at Grant Field. The Hawkeyes (2-0) will welcome Michigan (8)and ACC foes  Wake Forest (18) along with No. 1 North Carolina.

“Having three top programs come into Iowa City, we’re just really honored to be able to have the challenge for so many years in a row,” head coach Tracey Griesbaum said. “The competition is going to be awesome — this is the premier weekend in nonconference pretty much across the country.”

The Hawks head into the weekend after a strong start to the 2013 campaign — the team won contests Aug. 30 against Bucknell and Sept. 1 against Lafayette. They will face off with Wake Forest at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and again on Sept. 8 against North Carolina — that game will also begin at 11:30 a.m.

Griesbaum was happy with her team’s performance in the two Hawkeye victories but quickly noted that the wins don’t mean there is nothing for the team to improve upon.

The 14th year Iowa head coach noted the team’s need to control the game’s pace and tempo by controlling the ball in the midfield. Also, she would like to see her team be more efficient defensively.

“Definitely to have a defensive presence sooner,” Griesbaum said. “We kind of waited a little bit too long to get pressure on the ball.”

“I think last weekend set us up for some really good momentum for this upcoming weekend,” senior Aubrey Coleman said. “We have harder teams — just them being higher ranked and knowing their previous years and previous schedules.”

The Demon Deacons (1-0) head into Grant Field after celebrating Jennifer Averill’s 300th career win as head coach of Wake Forest. Her team defeated Miami of Ohio, 3-2, to clinch the milestone on Aug. 30. In their last meeting with the Hawks —in last year’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge — Iowa defeated the Demon Deacons, 3-2, on Aug. 25, 2012.

North Carolina will bring its No. 1 national ranking and 2-0 record into Iowa City this weekend. The Tar Heels won their season-opener against Lock Haven, 3-2, on Aug. 29 and thumped Villanova, 10-0, on Sept. 1. The last time the Hawkeyes faced off with the Tar Heels was in the 2012 Challenge; UNC won, 5-0, on Aug. 26, 2012.

Michigan will face North Carolina at 2 p.m. Saturday and Wake Forest on Sept. 8 at the same time.

The Wolverines have a 1-1 record on the season after losing their opening game to UMass on Aug. 31 and defeating Maine by a score of 4-2 the following day. Senior Rachel Mack led the scoring over the weekend for the Wolverines, netting three goals while fifth-year senior Haley Jones posted eight saves in the two games.

“It’s something that we’ve been looking forward to, and it’s really nice to have it on our home field,” sophomore forward Natalie Cafone said. “We’re just looking to come out and perform like we did last weekend.”

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