Sept. 6, 2010
By MICHELE DANNO
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- After opening its season with three consecutive losses, the University of Iowa field hockey team called Monday's victory over Brown the push it needed to prove the Hawkeyes as an offensive threat.
Until Monday, the young UI squad had scored two goals for the season, leaving it with a disappointing record of 0-3.
Fueling their competitive fire, the women took back the momentum Monday to more than double their scoring ratio and blank Brown, 5-0. They also showed a staggering increase in attacks, shooting 27 times against the Bears compared to only nine against Miami (Ohio) one day earlier.
"It was a mindset change," UI head coach Tracey Griesbaum said. "Everyone wanted the ball more, and they were more urgent and aggressive. When we can sustain an offense, it allows our defense to catch its breath and lets our key defenders go in and attack, too."
Griesbaum noted sophomore Jessica Barnett as one of the defenders who had an opportunity to shine offensively against Brown, scoring two of the Hawkeyes' five goals. Like many of her teammates, Barnett played with the aggressiveness needed to compete at the highest level on the field.
Junior Becca Spengler also contributed two goals during Monday's shutout, marking her first goals scored for the season. Freshmen Kim Scraper made her debut by scoring the fifth goal for the Hawkeyes -- the first goal of her career.
Spengler attributed this newfound aggression to Sunday's disheartening loss, and said her teammates entered Monday's match compelled to "prove it" on home turf.
"The motivating part was that we wanted to bounce back," Spengler said after Monday's game. "We didn't play our best before, and we wanted to prove to ourselves and each other that we could score some goals and win."
Monday's victory marked the 138th Iowa victory at Grant Field -- something Spengler said gave her squad a little extra push.
While winning at home is special, the Hawkeyes said they realize they have to establish a standard of play to bring everywhere they go. Griesbaum said, especially with her team's youth, developing and upholding their standards is a work-in-progress, and they still "have a long way to go."
But the Hawkeyes face a "so much to do, so little time" conundrum for the next few competitions. With only one and half practices left before traveling to Ohio to compete against Stanford and Kent State this weekend, Griesbaum said she needs her women to maintain the level of offensive energy she saw against Brown.
"We're still working on establishing our standard of play, but we see flashes of it here and there," Griesbaum said. "We just need to keep encouraging the girls, let them know we support them and that they have the green-light on attacking."