Nov. 8, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The 14th-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team arrived in Charlottesville, Va., on Thursday for the NCAA Tournament.
"It's awesome to be here," said UI head coach Tracey Griesbaum. "It's something we worked hard for since August, and really since last year. It's good that it's here and we're ready to practice tomorrow and get ready for our game on Saturday."
Iowa will play host and seventh-ranked Virginia in the first round of the tournament Saturday. Play between the Hawkeyes and Cavaliers begins at 1 p.m. (CT) at Turf Field. Iowa garnered an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season, earning back-to-back bids for the first time since 2007-08. It was the Hawkeyes sixth NCAA selection in the past nine years.
The group that traveled from Iowa City to Charlottesville on Thursday won't be the only Hawkeyes in town for the NCAA Tournament this weekend, as three former Iowa players or coaches will be coaching for other teams in the regional. Virginia head coach Michele Madison served as an assistant coach at Iowa from 1982-89, helping Iowa advance to four NCAA Final Fours and win the 1986 national title.
Princeton head coach Kristen Holmes-Winn and assistant coach Melisa Meccage both played at Iowa from 1994-97. During their time at Iowa, the Hawkeyes advanced to three NCAA Tournaments and the 1994 Final Four. Both were teammates and roommates of Iowa associate head coach Lisa Cellucci.
"I'm really proud of the program," said Griesbaum. "There is a lot of history to it. There are a lot of graduates that go on and stay in the coaching ranks. It's like an old reunion this weekend, so I'm looking forward to seeing everyone."
The history of the program includes 22 NCAA Tournament appearances -- the most of any school as a member of the Big Ten Conference. The Hawkeyes are 26-22 all-time in tournament play, including 9-4 in first round match-ups and 11-6 in second round contests. Iowa has advanced to 11 NCAA Final Fours, winning the 1986 national championship. The Hawkeyes 26 tournament victories and 11 NCAA Final Fours are the most of any school as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
The Hawkeyes will have one more day to prepare for NCAA Tournament play before facing Virginia on Saturday.
"Tomorrow will be a little more film with the team, the final game plan, and a good practice," said Griesbaum.