Sept. 2, 2009
Sarah Pergine, a junior forward from Collegeville, Pa., is the top scorer returning from the 2008 University of Iowa field hockey team that went 18-5 and advanced to the NCAA semifinals. Last season Pergine, a 2007 graduate of Perkiomen High School, scored eight goals with 13 assists (29 points). The Hawkeyes will embark on a two-game weekend road trip in Massachusetts, playing the host Minutewomen and Boston University.
Q: What are your expectations for the upcoming season?
A: I expect it to be a growing experience since we have eight incoming freshmen, but I expect a lot of them are going to step it up and I think we can come out as strong as we did last year.
Q: What are your team goals?
A: Obviously, to get as far as we can in the season. Our goal is going to be to get where we got last year (18-5 record, NCAA Final Four), but we have a different group of girls, so it's going to be a little bit of a different experience.
Q: What are your individual goals?
A: For me, it's a goal to be more of a leader on the forward line, since I'm the oldest now and I'm used to being the youngest. That'll be a big difference for me. I also want to increase my communication and help all the forwards around me.
Q: Do you have any statistical goals?
A: Obviously, to outdo my stats from last year (18 shots, eight goals).
Q: How do you rebound the season after advancing to the national semifinals?
A: You take it as, `Wow, you made it to this great place,' and you just want to keep building on it. You don't want to take it as, `Wow, we were here and now we have to work all the way back up to it.' I think the skill-level is still there and we just need to work in with the new players and get back to where we were.
Q: How important is the experience you earned making a deep run in the NCAA tournament?
A: It was a really great experience. I never imagined it would turn out like it did. The fact that we played our hearts out that last game (a 2-1 double-overtime loss to eventual champion Maryland) was just amazing. Yeah, we didn't get the result we wanted, but it was a really rewarding experience.
Q: How was the offseason?
A: It was actually pretty good. We had less people in the spring, so we got more touches on the ball, more repetitions. Our conditioning was upped, and I think we left in a really good place.
Q: What are the main differences between this year's team and last year's team?
A: I would say the age and a little bit of depth. We don't have as many people on the sideline as we did before, so we're just going to have to rely on everyone.
Q: You mentioned the incoming freshmen. Who do you expect to contribute this year out of that group?
A: I think all of them are going to contribute in their own way, whether that is on the field or off the field. I just think if each of them brings what they can to the field, we should be good.
Q: In your opinion, has anyone specifically looked impressive?
A: I think (midfielder) Geena Lesiak will do really well, and also Sarah Drake on the forward line. I'm really looking forward to working with her.
Q: How much different do you feel going into this year as opposed to last year?
A: I feel confident going into this year -- maybe not as much as I did going into last year, because we had eight returning seniors a year ago. But, I still think the experience that the returning players gained last fall, and then this spring, has really helped everyone out.