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Big Ten Tourney Starts Friday
Hawkeyes draw Michigan in first round action
Junior Heather Schnepf hopes to help Iowa back to championship game
Junior Heather Schnepf hopes to help Iowa back to championship game
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Nov. 2, 2005

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Big Ten Tournament

The 2005 Big Ten Field Hockey tournament will be held this weekend at Grant Field Nov. 4-6. The No. 11 Hawkeyes (10-7, 3-3) square off against tenth-ranked Michigan (12-7, 3-3) at 12:30 p.m. Iowa is the No. 5 seed in the tournament and the Wolverines are seeded fourth. The first game of the day matches the No. 2 seed, eighth-ranked Indiana (14-3, 4-2), against the seventh-seeded Northwestern (7-10, 0-6). At 3 p.m., Ohio State (14-5, 3-3) takes on Michigan State (12-7, 2-4). The Buckeyes are the No. 3 seed in the tournament and are ranked ninth nationally, while No. 15 Michigan State is the sixth seed. Penn State (17-2, 6-0) is the No. 1 seed after their first perfect Big Ten season; the sixth-ranked Nittany Lions face the winner of the Iowa vs. Michigan game on Saturday at 11 a.m. All games in the Big Ten tournament can be followed live on GameTracker. A link can be found on the Iowa Field Hockey website at www.hawkeyesports.com.

Iowa

The Hawkeyes (10-7, 3-3) take on Michigan in the first round of the tournament. The Wolverines were the last regular season Big Ten foes for Iowa and defeated the Hawkeyes 2-1 in Ann Arbor, MI.

Freshman Caitlin McCurdy leads the Hawkeyes in goals scored (11) points (28), shots taken (63) and game winning goals (three). Senior Debbie Birrell has eight goals and six assists for 22 points and one game winner. Lauren Pfeiffer, also a freshman, has seven goals, two assists and one game-winning goal for the Hawkeyes this season.

Through the regular season, 11 out of 13 players have scored at least one goal. The balanced attack allows the Hawkeyes many options on offense, including a variety of different looks on corner shot opportunities. Iowa ranks fourth in the league in scoring average with 2.94 scores per game. Iowa has outscored opponents this season 50-33.

Iowa also has a solid defense led by junior midfielder Heather Schnepf. Schnepf has five defensive saves this year and helps direct play on the field. In the net for the Hawkeyes is freshman Lissa Munley. Munley has started all 17 games this season and has 73 saves for a .695 saves percentage. Just 32 goals have been scored against Munley for an average of 1.89 goals per game.

Michigan

The Wolverines (12-7, 3-3) look to defend their 2004 Big Ten Tournament title this weekend in Iowa City.

Katie Morris leads Michigan with 25 points from ten goals and five assists. Erin Dallas and Lucia Belassi are next with eight and six goals, respectively. On the other side of the ball, the Wolverines have had seven defensive saves this season, including three by senior Lori Hillman. Beth Riley is the goalie for the tenth-ranked Wolverines; she has 115 saves (.757 save percentage) and has had 37 goals scored against her (1.88 average).

Penn State

The Nittany Lions (17-2, 6-6) clinched the regular season title and the No. 1 tournament seed after defeating Indiana in the last Big Ten game of the season.

Penn State is led by Annelise Legal, a junior midfielder, who has scored 33 points off 14 goals and five assists. Shaun Banta is close behind with 15 goals and one assist for 31 points. The Nittany Lions has outscored their opponents 69-18.

Goalkeeper Megan Akstin has recorded 75 saves and a goals against average of .806 through 19 games. No Penn State field players have notched any defensive saves.

Indiana

2005 has been the best field hockey season for the Hoosiers in their school's history. Indiana is 14-3 and 4-2 in the Big Ten; their two conference losses came in overtime to Iowa (2-1) and Penn State (4-3).

Lydia Schrott and Kayla Bashore each have scored 26 points for Ohio State this season. Schrott has 12 goals and two assists and Bashore has 11 goals and four assists.

The Hoosiers have four defensive saves with Danitra Castro coming up with two of those. Haley Exner leads the Big Ten with a .810 save percentage (98 saves) and is second in the league with 23 goals scored against her for a 1.36 average.

Northwestern

The Wildcats (7-11, 0-6) are led by Jill Putman. Putman, a freshman, has tallied up 24 points off 11 goals and two assists. Megan Small and Ellen Schlafly are next with eight goals and four assists each. Northwestern has scored a goal in every Big Ten game this season. They have been shutout just three times this season including games against No. 1 Wake Forest and No. 2 Duke.

Sherri-Anne Nyberg is the goalkeeper for Northwestern. Nyberg has 114 saves for the season and a goals against average of 3.07. Amanda Care also has two defensive saves.

Ohio State

No. 3 seed Ohio State (14-5, 3-3) has a potent offensive unit. Three Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in several offensive categories. Yesenia Luces has 38 points (11 goals, 16 assists), Lucy Clayton has 34 points (16 goals, two assists) and Saskia Mueller is next with 33 points (eight goals and 17 assists). Clayton leads the league in shots taken with an average of 5.53 (105 total) and goals scored per game, 0.64. Mueller has dished out the most assists per game with 0.89.

Goalkeeper Lindsay Williams has a goals against average of 1.55 and has netted 51 saves this year for a .630 save percentage. Defensively, Jessica Gofgosky is the only Buckeye to record any defensive saves; she has four.

Michigan State

Michigan State (12-7, 2-4) is the number six seed in the tournament and faces Ohio State in the opening round.

Michelle Huynh-Ba leads the Spartans with 14 goals and one assist for 29 points this season. Inge KaarsSijpestijn has recorded 20 points off eight goals and four assists, and Jessica Miller is next with 18 points from five goals and eight assists.

Michigan State goalkeeper, Christina Kirkaldy, has recorded 90 saves this season for a save percentage of .744 and has a goals against average of 1.55 (31 total goals scored against her). She picked up her seventh Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honor after guiding the Spartans to a 3-2 win over No. 8 Ohio State and a 2-1 win over Ohio University last weekend.

2004 Big Ten Tourney Recap

Last year, Northwestern University hosted the Big Ten Championships. In the first round, No. 2 seed Iowa defeated the Wildcats 3-2 in overtime. The fifth-seeded Buckeyes upset No. 4 seed Penn State, also by a score of 3-2. Third-seeded Michigan State took out the sixth-seeded Hoosiers 2-1.

In the semifinal round, the top-seeded Wolverines shutout out Ohio State 5-0. Iowa had its second overtime game of the tournament against Michigan State and advanced to the championship game with a 1-0 victory.

Michigan won its third Big Ten tournament title with a 3-2 victory over Iowa.

Heather Schnepf and Kelly Slattery were both named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team.

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