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Hawkeyes Ready for NCAA Regionals
Iowa will battle No. 7 American Saturday at 1 p.m. (CT)
Senior Lauren Stiver and the Hawkeyes return to NCAA play for the first time since 1999
Senior Lauren Stiver and the Hawkeyes return to NCAA play for the first time since 1999
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Nov. 10, 2004

IOWA CITY -

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The Big Dance

The Hawkeyes return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999 this weekend. Iowa will travel to the University of Maryland, where it will join the host Terrapins, Delaware Blue Hens and first round opponent American University Eagles.

The Hawkeyes will play American at 1 p.m. (CT) Saturday. The regional championship game is set for 1 p.m. (CT) Sunday.

Big Ten Tourney

The Hawkeyes made a strong run in the Big Ten Tournament last weekend, defeating Northwestern (3-2 OT) and Michigan State (1-0 OT) before falling to top-seeded Michigan in the championship game (3-2).

Iowa's first-round game against Northwestern was a thriller. With the score tied 2-2 and time winding down in the first overtime, freshman Caroline Blaum intercepted a Wildcat pass in the circle and ripped a shot to the back of the cage with just 38 second left to give Iowa the win.

Northwestern had jumped out to a 2-0 first half lead, but the Hawkeyes battled back with goals by seniors Margot McMahon and Lauren Stiver to tie things up and send the game to overtime.

The Hawkeyes' second round game against Michigan State was equally exciting, with Blaum once again providing the heroics. On a Hawkeye penalty corner just over four minutes into the game, Heather Schnepf sent a pass over to Blaum, who buried the shot inside the right post for the win.

In the championship game against Michigan, the Hawkeyes jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when junior Debbie Birrell scored on a mad scramble in front of the goal.

The Wolverines responded with three-straight goals from Katie Morris, Mary Fox and Jessica Blake.

Iowa cut the lead to one with a goal from senior Tammy Leister on a penalty corner, but it wasn't enough.

The 2004 Big Ten Title

With a 5-1 conference record, the Hawkeyes tied for first in the Big Ten Standings, earning their 13th conference championship.

This is the first Big Ten Championship since 1999 and the first under Head Coach Tracey Griesbaum.

STX/NFHCA Poll

The Hawkeyes jumped up three spots to No. 11 in the latest STX/NFHCA Coaches Poll.

North Carolina takes over the top spot after winning the ACC Tournament. Michigan is the highest ranked Big Ten team at No. 5. Michigan State is No. 8, while Penn State is No. 20.

Indiana and Ohio State are listed as receiving votes.

On American

The American Eagles are 18-2 on the season and ranked No. 7 in the STX/NFHCA poll.

Their offense is led by Camila Infante, who has 37 points on 14 goals and nine assists.

In goal, Allison Fayfich has put up some awesome numbers with a 0.96 goals against average and .818 save percentage.

Iowa leads the all-time series with American 1-0. The two teams' only meeting was a 4-2 Iowa win at the Maryland Tournament in 1996. Iowa and American were both at the Temple Tournament this season, but were on different sides of the bracket and didn't play each other.

American is coached by Steve Jennings, who is in his sixth season.

Don't I Know You?

Iowa will see a familiar face when it plays American Saturday. Eagles assistant coach Sarah Thorn was an all-American for the Hawkeyes the last time they were in the NCAA Tournament in 1999.

On Maryland

The Maryland Terrapins are 15-5 on the season and ranked No. 2 in the STX/NFHCA poll.

The Terps have a very balanced offensive attack with nine players with double digits in points. Tiffany Marsh leads the way with 34 (13 goals, 8 assists).

In goal, Maryland uses a two-pronged approach with Christina Restivo and Katheryn Masson sharing duties. Restivo has a 1.29 goals against average and .632 save percentage, while Masson has a 1.35 GAA and .723 save percentage.

Maryland holds a 3-7-1 series edge, and the two teams' last meeting was at the 1999 Final Four.

The Terps are coached by Missy Meharg, who is in her 17th year.

On Delaware

The Delaware Blue Hens are 15-6 and No. 14 in the latest coaches poll. They earned the Colonial Athletic Association's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by upsetting Old Dominion.

The Blue Hen offense is led by Lauren Carr, who has 27 points on 11 goals and five assists.

Goalkeeping duties are handled by Megan Allen, who has a 1.15 goals against average and .798 save percentage.

Delaware leads the all-time series 1-2.

They are coached by Carol Miller, who is in her 11th season.

NCAA Tournament History

This is the 17th time the Hawkeyes have advanced to the NCAA Tournament.Iowa has a 24-17 overall record in the NCAA Tournament.

Iowa has advanced to the Final Four 10 times, winning the NCAA Championship in 1986.

The last time Iowa made the NCAA Tournament was 1999, when the Hawkeyes advanced to the Final Four in Boston, MA.

All-Big Ten Awards

The Iowa Hawkeyes were rewarded for their excellence this season at the annual Big Ten Tournament Banquet last Thursday.

Five Hawkeyes earned all-Big Ten honors, with Sarah Dawson and Barb Weinberg named to the first team and Lauren Stiver, Debbie Birrell and Heather Schnepf named to the second team.

Coach of the Year

The players weren't the only ones honored by the Big Ten. Iowa Head Coach Tracey Griesbaum was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year after leading the Hawkeyes to a 5-1 conference record and a share of the Big Ten Championship.

It is the first time Griesbaum has won the award. Former Iowa coach Beth Beglin is the only other Hawkeye coach to be so honored. Beglin won the award four times (1992, 1995, 1996 and 1999).

All-Big Ten Tournament Team

The Hawkeye defense was key in the team's Big Ten Tournament run, and a pair of sophomores, Heather Schnepf and Kelly Slattery, were named to the all-Big Ten Tournament team.

Neither player was in the Hawkeye backfield on opening day. Schnepf was still recovering from a torn ACL suffered during the spring, while Slattery began the season on the forward line before moving to the defense.

Since Schnepf and Slattery have joined the defense, Iowa has gone 12-3.

Deja Vu All Over Again?

The 2004 Big Ten Tournament bore a striking resemblance to the 2002 tournament for the Hawkeyes.

Both years, the Hawkeyes won their first and second round games in overtime, then went on to lose the championship game by one goal.

Also, both times the same person scored both game-winning goals for Iowa. In 2001, Pattie Gillern scored both overtime game-winners, while Caroline Blaum did it this time.

Clutch Freshmen

First-year players have been coming up big for the Hawkeyes this year. Freshmen Caroline Blaum and Kadi Sickel are tied with senior Sarah Dawson for the team lead with three game winning goals each.

Amazingly, both freshmen have scored game-winning, overtime goals in back-to-back games this season. The only other players in Iowa history to pull off that feat was Pattie Gillern (2002) and Heather Bryant (1991).

Double-Double

Senior Sarah Dawson leads the team in scoring with 34 points on 12 goals and 10 assists. She is the first player to post double-digits in both goals and assists since Lesley Irvine (17 goals, 13 assists) did it in 1999.

Finally Got It

Hawkeye senior back Tammy Leister scored her first career goal in the championship game at the Big Ten Tournament.

The Oley, PA, native has 20 shots on goal this season and 25 for her career.

Making Them Count

Freshman defender Kadi Sickel has been amazingly economical with her shots this season, having scored on five of nine.

Her .556 shooting percentage is the highest of any player in the Big Ten with at least five goals.

Hawkeyes in the Big Ten

With 16 goals in conference play, the Iowa Hawkeyes finished the year as the highest scoring team in the Big Ten.

Weinberg an All-Star

Hawkeye goalkeeper Barb Weinberg was named to the 2004 NFHCA North/South Senior All-Star Game.

Weinberg, a senior, will represent the North team at the all-star game, which will be played on Saturday, November 20, 2004 at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Loving Overtime

The Hawkeyes have been showing their love of field hockey this season by playing a lot of it. Iowa has been in seven overtime games, breaking a school record set in 1994.

In fact, seven of the last 13 games the Hawkeyes have played have gone into overtime. Three of Iowa's six Big Ten games went into extra frames.

The Hawkeyes are 5-2 in overtime this season.

Miss Clutch

Freshman defender Kadi Sickel crammed a career's worth of drama into a two-week span. The Plaistow, NH, native scored the game-winning goal in three consecutive games, two of which were in overtime.

The streak started when Sickel tipped in a shot to give the Hawkeyes a 4-3 overtime win against the Michigan Wolverines. It continued in double overtime against Penn State, when she ended the game by burying a rebound.

Sickel then scored the game-winner in Iowa's 4-0 win over Quinnipiac.

The last Iowa player to record overtime game-winning goals in back-to-back game's was Pattie Gillern, who did it at the 2001 Big Ten Tournament against Michigan State and Penn State.

Getting Defensive

Iowa defender Heather Schnepf has helped anchor the Hawkeye backfield this season and leads the team with three defensive saves.

The sophomore missed the first two weeks of the season after suffering a knee injury during spring practice.

Offensive Leader

Senior forward Sarah Dawson's currently leads the team in all offensive categories. She has 12 goals, 10 assists, 34 points and 73 shots.

Career High

Senior goalkeeper Barb Weinberg has made a career-high 137 saves so far this season. Her previous high was 106, which she set last season.

Dishing Them Out

Senior forward Sarah Dawson led the Big Ten in assists during conference play with five. Overall, she leads the team with 34 points on a team-best 12 goals and 10 assists.

Having a Stroke

The Hawkeyes have already drawn more penalty strokes than all of last year. Iowa has earned nine strokes in 20 games, as compared to just three in 19 games last year.

Senior Lauren Stiver is 6-of-7 in penalty strokes so far, while classmate Margot McMahon is 1-for-1 and junior Debbie Birrell is 0-1.

The Only Brick in the Wall

All-American goalkeeper Barb Weinberg anchors the Iowa defense this year, and she better be in shape, because she hasn't gotten a rest for the entire season. Weinberg is the only goalkeeper on the Iowa roster.

2004 Captains

The Hawkeye tri-captains this season are seniors Margot McMahon, Lauren Stiver and Barb Weinberg.

Family Ties

Hawkeye ties always seem to run deep. This season, two seniors are the younger sisters of former Iowa all-Americans.

Tammy Leister is the younger sister of 2002 all-American Tiffany Leister, while Sarah Dawson is the younger sister of 2000 all-American Natalie Dawson.

The Head Coach

Tracey Griesbaum returns to the helm of the Hawkeye field hockey program for her fifth year.

She has done a good job rebuilding the Iowa program, recording a 45-29 record.

Before taking the head coaching job at Iowa, she was with United States Field Hockey. Griesbaum not only served as a full-time assistant, but was the head coach for the United States Under-21 Team. She led the Under-21 team to a second-place finish at the Pan American Junior Championships and a spot in the 2001 Junior World Cup.

Her work was good enough to earn her the 2000 United States Field Hockey Coach of the Year award.

Before taking the job with USA Field Hockey, Griesbaum was an assistant coach at Iowa for eight years.

The Assistants

Former Hawkeye Lisa Cellucci and Carla Tagliente will return as the assistant coaches this season.

Cellucci was a four-year starter in the cage for Iowa. From 1995-98, Cellucci was a three-time All-American, four-time Regional All-American and a four-time All-Big Ten selection.

After graduation, Cellucci was an assistant coach at James Madison, where she helped the Dukes to a 15-7 record.

Tagliente was a four-time all-America selection for Maryland from 1997-2000, earning first team laurels her final three years.

She led the Terps to three ACC Titles and the 1999 NCAA Championship. She was also a two-time Broderick Award finalist and was a member of the U.S. National team from 1997-2003.

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