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Hemeon putting it all together for Hawkeyes

BY DANNY PAYNE | SEPTEMBER 18, 2013 5:00 AM

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During two games at Grant Field this season, Iowa fans have been treated to the sight of Dani Hemeon receiving a pass from fellow cocaptain Niki Schultheis on a penalty corner and immediately unleashing a monster shot, resulting in an Hawkeye goal.

Both tallies have come from slightly inside the scoring circle, which sits 48 feet from the net, and have been shot with precision to beat the opposing goalkeeper on her short side.

“I mean, I think that last year I got a big opportunity to take a lot of our short corners, so I really got a lot of experience this year, so I’m just hoping to kind of really just keep going and raising my level of play on the corners this year,” Hemeon said.

That level of play was evident last season for the native of Gilroy, Calif.; she led the Hawkeyes in points with 24 — scoring 11 goals and assisting on two Hawkeye scores.

In the young 2013 campaign, she has one assist in addition to the aforementioned goals, putting her at 5 points through six games. Another impressive stat — she has posted a 76.9 percent shots on goal percentage, meaning only three of her shots this season have not hit the goal.

However, Hemeon’s ability doesn’t just stop with unleashing strong and accurate strokes.

A few short moments before student-athletes became available to talk to the media on Sept. 11, the Hawkeyes were running through agility drills. During the footwork exercises, Hemeon’s feet were moving lightning quick in and out of the rope ladder on the turf at Grant Field.

Although a small example, elements such as these have impressed head coach Tracey Griesbaum this season.

“She’s come through incredibly well; her fitness is at such a better level this year that she can last and play full games — which wasn’t always the case last year,” the 14-year head coach said. “So I just give her a lot of credit for her work and her dedication in the off-season.”

Some of that hard work in the off-season came in the form of experience playing on the under-21 U.S. Junior Women’s Field Hockey squad. Hemeon competed in New Zealand and Australia from Jan. 8-20.

While playing with the team, one of Hemeon’s assistant coaches was former Hawkeye Meghan Beamesderfer, who said the time spent wearing the Red, White, and Blue helps the players tremendously in their development.

“It’s definitely the highest level of field hockey you can get,” Beamesderfer told The Daily Iowan on Sept. 19, 2012. “Hopefully, [the experience] will help me get these girls to play at a higher level, too.”

A final aspect of Hemeon’s game that has impressed her head coach has been her versatility. The junior has had to spend more time playing in the middle of the field because an injury to senior midfielder Marike Stribos.

“I don’t think we were expecting to do that,” Griesbaum said about the switch. “And she has come through incredibly well.”


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