Nov. 1, 2012
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 -- Coming off its biggest victory of the season, the 12th-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team is looking to ride a wave of momentum into the 2012 Big Ten Tournament, which begins today at Grant Field.
The Hawkeyes created the momentum with a 3-2 come-from-behind overtime victory over No. 8 Northwestern on Oct. 28 at Grant Field. Iowa trailed 2-0 at the half before rallying for its first victory over a top 10 foe since the 2008 season.
University of Iowa head coach Tracey Griesbaum says the win showed toughness and in turn, boosted the team's confidence.
"You don't want to find yourself down two goals, but we did, and we fought back," said UI head coach Tracey Griesbaum. "It took a lot of mental energy, but at the end of the day, we proved we can play with anyone. We followed a game plan for the entire game... that's a huge confidence builder."
"Our motto all season has been taking it one day at a time. We know what is at stake, but we're not going to let that get us too far ahead of ourselves."
Senior co-captain Jessica Barnett
The Hawkeyes' confidence is peaking at the right time with postseason play upon them.
"The way we finished, and how we played a full 70 minutes, was awesome," said sophomore Dani Hemeon. "To know that we can play at that high caliber is going to help us prepare for these next teams."
Iowa, the tournament No. 4 seed, faces fifth-seeded Michigan State at 11 a.m. (CT) today. The Hawkeyes won the regular season match-up in East Lansing, Mich., 1-0, on Sept. 21. The winner of the game will face top-seeded Penn State on Friday in a semifinal contest (1:30 p.m., BTN).
To achieve one of its goals of winning a Big Ten Tournament title, Iowa will have to win three games in four days. As is the team mantra each day of the season, the Hawkeyes are focusing on the present.
"Our motto all season has been taking it one day at a time," said senior co-captain Jessica Barnett. "We know what is at stake, but we're not going to let that get us too far ahead of ourselves."
"We know what we need to do, but right now, we're focusing on Michigan State," said Hemeon, one of three Hawkeyes who share the team lead with eight goals and 18 points. "Once we get through that game, we'll focus on the next.
"We all know in the back of our minds what we want to be the ultimate goal, but we can't let that get ahead of us."
Griesbaum says the culture of the Iowa program has prepared the team for getting through a potential three games over a four-day stretch.
"Every phase of our training all year long, we never let the athletes off the hook for taking care of their bodies, mind or mentality," said Griesbaum, who coached the Hawkeyes to three-straight tournament titles from 2006-08. "As soon as the practice or game is over, it's on to recovery. Physically, they're going to feel it come Sunday, but so will our opponent."
Barnett isn't about to get ahead of herself. Before even thinking about a semifinal match-up against Penn State or a potential championship game appearance, she is quick to make a point.
"We're going to have to take it day-by-day," she said. "Michigan State is up first."
Following Iowa's 11 a.m. game against the Spartans, No. 2 seed Northwestern faces seventh-seed Indiana at 1:30 p.m. and No. 3 seed Michigan squares off against No. 6 seed Ohio State at 4 p.m. Friday's semifinals begin at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., and Sunday's final starts at 1:30 p.m.
Visit hawkeyesports.com for full B1G Tournament coverage.