April 1, 2014
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Over the years, the University of Iowa field hockey program has been well-represented on the international stage. That statement continues to be reinforced, as evidenced by a recent four-game series between the U.S. Women's National Squad and the Canadian Women's National Team.
Five current or former members of the Hawkeye program -- Meghan Beamesderfer, Lauren Pfeiffer, Jessica Barnett, Karli Johansen, Stephanie Norlander -- competed at the Spooky Nook Sports' world-renowned Dome Arena in Lancaster, Pa., during the test series.
The series marked the first international matches to be held under the new Dome at the Spooky Nook Sports facility. The Dome is only one of two such domes in the entire world, with the other being located in Mannheim, Germany. The Dome is climate controlled, allowing for ideal playing conditions regardless of weather conditions.
Pfeiffer, a two-time Hawkeye All-American, scored the first goal in the new home of the U.S. team.
"Our opening tournament against Canada at our new facility was an awesome experience," said Pfeiffer. "We had more than 500 fans each game cheering us on and ended the series on a good note leading us into the Champions Challenge in April."
Beamesderfer and Pfeiffer are members of the U.S. National Squad. Beamesderfer, the 21st former Hawkeye to represent the red, white, and blue on the national squad is in her first year, and Pfeiffer has been a member of the team since 2009.
"The Hawkeyes were well-represented out on the field with three players representing Canada and two for the USA," said Pfeiffer. "It was fun to compete against other Hawkeyes who have excelled this far in their field hockey careers."
Beamesderfer, a Pennsylvania native, was able to play close to home.
"It was the first series of games that we played in our indoor dome," said Beamesderfer, a former two-time All-American. "For me it was extremely special because I was able to represent my country and I was able to play in front of most of my family and friends from my home town.
"The atmosphere was one for the books because the crowd made it impossible to hear your teammates on the field and kept the game exciting with all their chants."
Beamesderfer and Pfeiffer led the U.S. to a four-game sweep.
"We won all four games, but I think Canada kept getting stronger as the games went on," said Beamesderfer. "We were challenged every day, and there are good things to come for U.S.A. field hockey."
Barnett, Johansen, and Norlander, a Hawkeye freshman, competed for Canada. The trio hails from North Vancouver, Canada.
Barnett was a two-time All-American, and three-time All-Big Ten honoree, regional All-American and Big Ten All-Tournament selection.
Johansen, a senior on the 2013 Hawkeye squad, was selected to compete in the 2013 Front Rush/NFHCA Division I Senior Game. She was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team as a sophomore and junior.
Norlander had a standout season for Iowa as a freshman in 2013. She was named to the NFHCA West Region All-America second team and was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
"It is always fun to compete with others players when you know their playing style," said Barnett. "Competing against other Hawkeyes is always fun. We might be opponents on the field, but it is great to be able to catch up after the whistle blows."
"Being a Hawkeye and playing for Canada is a dream come true," said Norlander. "When I put on my Canadian jersey, know I have the support of my Hawkeye family, and compete with and against fellow Hawkeyes... it is an unreal experience. Having so many Hawkeyes play in this past series proves the talent and excellence of the Iowa program."
Beamesderfer and Pfeiffer will be competing to earn a spot on the 18-player roster that the U.S. will take to the Champions Challenge at the end of April. Barnett, Johansen, and Norlander will continue to train with Canada in preparation for their tour to England at the end of April.