Nov. 7, 2007
Lauren Pfeiffer is a junior midfielder on the University of Iowa field hockey team. In 59 career games, she has scored 33 goals with 12 assists. This season Pfeiffer leads the 17-3 Hawkeyes with 15 goals, four game-winning goals and 38 points. Pfeiffer graduated from Lenape High School in Mount Laurel, N.J.
How hard was it adjusting to the Iowa City, Iowa after growing up in New Jersey?
LP: New Jersey is very fast-paced and everything is really close together. Coming to Iowa brought a more relaxed environment and I really liked that a lot. I love it out here because this is completely different than anything I could have found at home. I noticed it right away from the pace people were walking down the street to the pace they were driving. There are friendly, polite people here and that is really attractive to me.
The Big Ten Conference is known for its physical play in field hockey. How does that benefit you and the Hawkeyes?
LP: We're one of the teams that make the Big Ten a more physical conference in field hockey. Our team is very aggressive and I love that. If you push someone in practice, they're going to push you back. You play as hard as you can every day and I like it that we're so aggressive.
For the past two seasons, the Big Ten Tournament has been Iowa's time to shine. What is the key to peaking in the month of November?
LP: It's a combination of everything we've done starting in December of the previous year. Everything we've worked on all summer is paying off now. Caroline Blaum's goal against Michigan State (on Oct. 27) was something we practiced every day all summer long. It happened and we scored the winning goal. All of our hard work is paying off for us. We were excited about this year. We did it last year in the tournament and that was a confidence-booster. We took it one game at a time and didn't look ahead too far.
How do you fell about the fact that no field hockey is played in Iowa high schools?
LP: It makes us more unique and makes it more important if we're the only place in the whole state that has field hockey. It would be great, though, to see younger kids starting to play the game and see the sport spread here somehow.
Why did you decide to pursue field hockey rather than another sport?
LP: I was into a lot of sports. I played lacrosse, soccer, basketball and obviously field hockey. My mom was a field hockey and lacrosse player and she was also the field hockey coach at my high school, so that was kind of an influence. I chose field hockey my freshman year of high school. I had prior experience, but I never really loved the sport that much. As soon as I started playing for real every day I realized that this is really what I wanted to do. (During high school, Pfeiffer played field hockey in the fall and lacrosse in the spring).
You are going to college many miles from your family. What makes you feel at home in Iowa City?
LP: The team and coaches. None of us are from within an hour of Iowa City. We're all in the same boat and we all come from completely different backgrounds. We're all family. It's amazing how well we all get along and how good the chemistry is.
Is there anything about you that no one knows...even your teammates?
LP: I won't cut my hair during the season. I have no idea why, I just won't. My hair is getting pretty long right now and that's a good thing. I always have my own rituals before each game and listen to the same song before each game -- it's an Irish song from the movie Boondock Saints. It's very strange, but it just kind of does it for me and puts me in the right place. Not many people know that.
"I won't cut my hair during the season. I have no idea why, I just won't. My hair is getting pretty long right now and that's a good thing. I always have my own rituals before each game and listen to the same song before each game -- it's an Irish song from the movie Boondock Saints. It's very strange, but it just kind of does it for me and puts me in the right place. Not many people know that.
Iowa junior Lauren Pfeiffer
What were your thoughts as you were recruited by the University of Iowa?
LP: I was excited to get the letters and to be recruited by Iowa. Heather Schnepf (who played at Iowa from 2003-06) was my teammate in high school and a family friend. That didn't make it that random that Iowa was talking to me. The decision I made was completely for me. I initially said no to Iowa because I figured it was just too far. Then I went to a game at Penn State and I saw the coaches and I saw Iowa play and I knew that was the style of play I wanted and the coaching I had always dreamed of. That was neat that the coaches still wanted me and continued recruiting me even after I said no.
Other than field hockey, what other sports do you enjoy watching at Iowa?
LP: I support pretty much everything and anything. I go to soccer games when I can. We have friends on different teams. I like the volleyball matches, too. You do what you can to get around to the other sports. I like watching everything.
What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
LP: That is a big question for me. I absolutely do not have a clue. Right now I'm still all field hockey and I wish I could still be involved in field hockey in 10 years. It's something I don't want to get away from. I'm a marketing major, but I'm not really sure where I'm going to go with that or what I'm going to do. Hopefully if it's not field hockey in my life it will be some type of sport-related thing.
Describe some of the attributes that have made you so successful at field hockey?
LP: Determination and doing what it takes and then doing a little extra. There are so many things I can still work on and just prioritizing what to work on, doing extra workouts when you can and watching extra film.
What is the most difficult part of playing field hockey?
LP: The mental game. There is so much you can learn from playing this sport and watching this sport. You don't have a playbook, you have to create on your own and figure out if you get a pass from this side, what's the pass to give or how should I be cutting?
What is it like being on a team with a roster full of stellar athletes?
LP: It's an amazing feeling knowing that if you're not having your best day, your teammates are. Knowing that everyone has put out the same effort every day and worked so hard that they give it their all when it comes time. It's nice not to worry about your teammates. You know they're doing what they should be doing.
Iowa is one of 16 field hockey teams in the NCAA Tournament. How far can the Hawkeyes go?
LP: We realized how close we were last year. We want to get further than the first round. Then we want to get further than the second round. I really think we can do it. I honestly think this is the team that can do it.
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