No. 18 Hawkeyes set to host Indiana and Pacific


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If someone’s first experience speaking with Tracey Griesbaum happened to be while she was talking about her team’s upcoming games with Indiana and Pacific, that person would think the Iowa head coach had just received the best news of her life.

The 14-year head coach is usually carries a fairly upbeat attitude, but that disposition was turned up a notch when she spoke about the upcoming games — comparable to a kid on Christmas morning.

Why? Her field-hockey squad is carrying momentum from Monday’s 7-1 stomping of Missouri State at Grant Field.

“You know how in football they say it’s a short week, or something, just to get right back out,” Griesbaum said. “I’m really glad we don’t have a bye weekend this weekend. Just to get back on Grant [Field] so quick, as an athlete and a coach it’s fun.”

Her 18-ranked Hawkeyes will have an opportunity to pick up their first Big Ten win at 3 p.m. Friday — Iowa and Indiana enter the game with identical records, 6-5 overall, 0-2 in conference play.

Last season, the Hawkeyes defeated Indiana, 2-1, in overtime in Bloomington. At a very rainy IU Field Hockey Complex, Iowa took 32 shots and 16 penalty corners, converting only one. This time around, Griesbaum’s squad will try to improve upon that stat.

“I think with what we’ve been training and how we’ve been training, I feel like we’re going to have some pretty good looks at the goal,” Dani Hemeon said.

In addition to penalty corners, a key for the Hawkeyes will be spreading out the field as they did against Missouri State. Iowa stretched the Bear defense thin, tallying 25 shots on the afternoon.

Hemeon, who accounted for 9 of those shots, said the team has to put that many balls on net this weekend.

“[We will] emphasize the spacing because that was the way we were able to find the back of the net,” the midfielder said.

Earlier in the season, Iowa struggled in the first period to score goals. However, based on their last two matches, the Hawkeyes are slowly starting to make an impact early. Even though it may be by slim margins, the Hawkeye attack has outshot and outscored opponents before the break.

Aubrey Coleman said a key is to jump on opponents early, and that the team will try to do so, especially against Indiana.

“That’s a mindset that we have in every game,“ the senior said. “First five, first 10 minutes — we come out strong, we come out hard. We sustain it and continue it.”

While the Hawkeyes will try to jump out to an early lead, the backline may be without starting goalkeeper Kelsey Boyce for one or both games this weekend. The fifth-year senior tweaked her hamstring in practice last week and did not play in Monday’s victory.

Boyce is listed as day-to-day, and the coaches will decide in warm-ups whether she will be in the lineup. If Boyce does not play, Alexandra Pecora will get the nod in net for the Hawkeyes. The freshman allowed 1 goal on three shots in Monday’s game.

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