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Field hockey splits in North Carolina

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | SEPTEMBER 02, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa field-hockey team split its first two games of the season when the Hawkeyes opened the 2014 season in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

The Black and Gold defeated No. 11 Wake Forrest, 4-1, on Aug. 30 before falling to No. 2 North Carolina by the same score.

“It was a great win against one of the top opponents in the country,” interim head coach Lisa Cellucci said in a release. “We play Wake Forest every year, and it’s always a good game. Our girls stuck to the game plan and battled through the heat, and we were able to come out on top.”

Sophomore Stephanie Norlander led the way for Iowa against Wake Forest, netting a pair of goals including the first of the game at 1:09 in the first period. Junior Natalie Cafone and senior Sara Watro also scored for Iowa to help seal the 4-1 victory.

After racing out to an early 3-goal lead, an offensive push from the Demon Deacons put the Hawkeyes on their heels, but despite being outshot 11-9 in the game, the Hawks held tight until the final whistle, securing the victory.

“Our defense as a whole was a huge key to our success today,” Cellucci said in a release. “Our girls made quite a statement coming out and executing the way we did. We were very efficient with our shots on goals and were able take advantage at times.”

The Hawks were less fortunate against the Tar Heels, however, falling in their final game of the weekend after conceding an early goal in the first period.

Despite mounting a valiant comeback effort, Cafone’s lone goal was all the offense the Black and Gold could muster.

“We gave up a goal 21 seconds into the game, and it was as if we were playing on our heels from that point forward,” Cellucci said in a release. “We wanted to come out and set the tone early. We got down 4-0 as we entered the half and just weren’t able to climb back.”

The No. 2 Tar Heels have now beaten Iowa in every game since 2008.

“I thought our halftime adjustments were good; our communication improved from the first half, and we were able to slow down their offense,” Cellucci said in a release. “We have a high standard set for our expectations and the way we come out and play. I really expected more out of our play today, especially considering how well we took the field on Saturday against Wake Forest.”

The Hawkeyes will return to action this week when they play host to No. 1 Virginia on Thursday at Grant Field.

“Overall, it was a good weekend; we just need to keep rolling, learn from our mistakes, and get ready for Virginia on Thursday,” Cellucci said in a release.

Follow @ryanarod on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa field hockey team.


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