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Trap game no trap for field hockey

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 5:00 AM

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After a dominant win over Indiana on Sept. 26, any feelings of a possible trap game for the Iowa field-hockey team disappeared in the first 10 minutes of the first period Sunday against Missouri State.

A pair of goals from sophomore Steph Norlander just eight minutes into the contest chummed the waters for the Black and Gold, who continued to feed on the Bears until the final whistle ended the 7-0 blowout.

Norlander finished with a hat trick, the first of the sophomore’s career.

“We treat every game the same, no matter who the opponent is,” she said.  “We prepare every week to come out hard and dominate on the field.”

Dominated is a bit of an understatement.

The Hawks dominated time of possession and peppered Missouri State goalkeeper Megan Drew with 18 shots, including 11 on goal, all while giving up just 4 on their own net.

“I think it definitely helps getting the first goal in a game, and early on,” Norlander said. “It gets ahead, and it gets you ready to go to get more, but I think I’m always hungry in front of the net no matter what the situation is.”

And while Missouri State is a bit of a step down from the Hawks’ usual level of competition, they came out hungry nonetheless.

Just about every single goal was a highlight-reel play, including a mid-air baseball swing from Norlander and a pair of two-on-ones from Natalie Cafone and freshman Mallory Lefkowitz.

The pretty displays of passing were the latest reminder to the 384 fans in attendance at Grant Field of just how much skill exists in the Iowa central attack.

“It was exciting to see all the fans come out in support,” Norlander said. “The more people that come out, the better.”

And while Iowa’s stars certainly stood out on the field, the Black and Gold got some enormous contributions from some lesser-known names, including freshman goaltender Katie Jones, who earned her first win and shutout in her first start of the season.

“The win is nice, but as a whole team effort, they stepped up and played so well, so I have to give a lot of the credit to them,” she said.

And while Jones wasn’t tested often, she came up big when it mattered, including a frantic diving stop 20 feet from the goal in the first period.

“I didn’t even really think about it,” Jones said. “I just kind of ran out from the net and took her out because I didn’t want her to get the shot off.  Luckily it was something [interim head coach Lisa Cellucci] and I work on a lot in practice.”

All in all, 20 of Iowa’s 21 players saw action in the victory, with regular starting goalkeeper Alex Pecora the lone Hawkeyes who remained inactive.

“I think it was a great opportunity today for some of those girls,” Cellucci said. “We’ve been wanting to get them some experience this season, and this was the game we finally got to do it.

“They went in and performed very well in a lot of different roles, so we were very pleased to see that.”

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


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