No. 19 Hawkeyes set to take on No. 6 Penn State, UC Davis


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The 19th-ranked Iowa field-hockey team is set for a huge matchup with No. 6 Penn State today and for a date with California-Davis on Oct. 27. Both games are scheduled to take place at Grant Field.

Iowa (10-5, 2-2 Big Ten) returns to Grant riding a five-game winning streak during which it has scored 25 goals — 15 from Natalie Cafone and Dani Hemeon.

“From playing together now for two years, I know where she will be on the field,” Hemeon said about Cafone. “She knows where I am, we just know each other’s skill sets really well, so we’re really able to work together and combine up the field.”

Last season, the Hawkeyes lost both of their games to the Nittany Lions. On Oct. 14, 2012, Iowa fell in University Park, Pa., 5-1 — the Hawkeyes were outshot 25-8. On Nov. 2, 2012 Iowa fell 3-2 in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.

This time around, head coach Tracey Griesbaum is confident in her team and knows the Hawks need to play their own game to hand Penn State its first Big Ten loss of the season.

“I’m not thinking about last year; I’m just trying to build on what we’ve been doing this year,” the 14-year coach said. “I think it’s pretty simple; I think we have to make sure we contain them enough that the stats don’t get out of whack. We need to keep the game even in every category.”

Statistically, Iowa and Penn State are relatively evenly matched in points — the combination of goals and assists — with Iowa taking the advantage in that category at 8.27 per game to Penn State’s 8.14.

The Hawkeyes are outscoring the Nittany Lions by slightly over a half-a-goal per game — 3.53 to 3 — and Penn State has allowed fewer goals per game than Iowa, although by a very slim margin — 1.43 to Iowa’s 1.47.

“We’re going to be more prepared,” said Cafone, the Big Ten’s leading scorer. “We know their skill sets, we know that we can match up against them this year, and we’re really looking forward to it.

Penn State (11-3, 4-0) carries a 10-game winning streak into the matchup; its last loss came against then-No. 4 Connecticut in overtime on Sept. 8 at University Park.

“I think Penn State is coming here, they’re not thinking that, ‘Oh, we have 10 wins under our belt.’ They’re thinking, ‘We just have to beat Iowa,’ ” Griesbaum said. “In this moment right now, we’re not thinking of our entire season, we’re just thinking what do we do to prepare to beat Penn State.”

Looking ahead to Iowa’s Oct. 27 against Cal-Davis, which has a 4-10 mark overall and a 2-3 conference record, the Hawkeyes will have to contain the Aggies’ two leading-scorers, Jamie Garcia and Cloey LemMon. Both women have 13 points on the year under interim head coach Austin Pile.

The last time the two teams met, Sept. 10, 2012, Iowa beat the Aggies 3-0, with two of those goals coming from Hemeon.

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