Iowa's Cafone is Big Ten field hockey offensive player of year

Hawk Central
Iowa Hawkeyes forward Natalie Cafone

The University of Iowa sent the following press release Wednesday:


ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced its 2014 field hockey All-Big Ten teams and individual award winners on Wednesday, with Maryland collecting four individual honors after winning the Big Ten Championship in its first season in the conference. The Terrapins' Maxine Fluharty was tabbed Player of the Year, Sarah Sprink was named Defensive Player of the Year, Moira Putsch claimed Freshman of the Year honors and Missy Meharg was named Big Ten Coach of the Year. Iowa's Natalie Cafone was tabbed Offensive Player of the Year.

Fluharty earned Player of the Year accolades after tying for the Big Ten lead with seven goals in conference games only, including two game-winning goals. She also ended the Big Ten season ranked second in points (16) during conference games. Last year, the Big Ten began honoring a Player of the Year for the first time since 2006.

In all games, Cafone leads the Big Ten in both points (42) and goals (18). She scored seven goals during conference play, and was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 9. Cafone becomes the first Hawkeye to win Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors since Diane DeMiro in 1995.

Sprink claimed Defensive Player of the Year honors after anchoring a Maryland back line that currently leads the Big Ten in scoring margin (3.23), shutouts (6) and goals-against-average (1.17) in all games. Sprink enters the Big Ten Tournament with 29 total points, including 12 goals.

Putsch earned top billing among conference freshmen after scoring four goals and tallying three assists during Big Ten play. She was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week four times this season.

Meharg led Maryland to the outright Big Ten Championship in the Terrapins' first season as a member of the Big Ten. Maryland compiled a 16-2 overall record and a 7-1 mark in Big Ten play en route to Meharg's eighth conference Coach of the Year honor. Meharg is in her 27th season at the helm of the Terrapins, having guided Maryland to seven national championships.

Cafone, Fluharty and Sprink earned spots on the All-Big Ten first team and were joined by Indiana's Audra Heilman, Iowa's Stephanie Norlander, Michigan's Ainsley McCallister and Leslie Smith, Michigan State's Abby Barker, Northwestern's Maddy Carpenter and Lisa McCarthy and Penn State's Laura Gebhart and Taylor Herold. Fluharty was a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection, while Heilman, Cafone and McCallister were all named to the All-Big Ten first-team for the second consecutive year. Barker was named first-team All-Big Ten for the third consecutive season, while Gebhart became the first Penn State player to claim four straight All-Big Ten first-team honors.

The Big Ten also recognized nine Sportsmanship Award honorees. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.

The complete list of All-Big Ten honorees and Sportsmanship Award honorees can be found below.

2014 All-Big Ten Teams

First Team*

Audra Heilman, Sr., F/M, IND

Natalie Cafone, Jr., F, IOWA

Stephanie Norlander, F/M, So., IOWA


Sarah Sprink, Jr., B, MD

Ainsley McCallister, Sr., M, MICH

Leslie Smith, Sr., B, MICH

Abby Barker, Sr., F, MSU

Maddy Carpenter, GK, Sr., NU

Lisa McCarthy, Jr., M/B, NU

Laura Gebhart, Sr., F/M, PSU

Taylor Herold, Sr., F/M, PSU

Second Team

Sydney Supica, B/M, Jr., IND

Dani Hemeon, M, Sr., IOWA

Brooke Cabrera, GK, Sr., MD

Anna Dessoye, M, Jr., MD

Katie Gerzabek, F, Sr., MD

Lauren Thomas, B, Jr., MICH

Becky Stiles, M, Sr., MSU

Charlotte Martin, M/F, Jr., NU

Peanut Johnson, F, Jr., OSU

Sofia Walia, B, So., RU


Player of the Year: Maxine Fluharty, MD

Offensive Player of the Year: Natalie Cafone, IOWA

Defensive Player of the Year: Sarah Sprink, MD

Freshman of the Year: Moira Putsch, MD

Coach of the Year: Missy Meharg, MD


Sportsmanship Award Honorees

Corinne Karch, IND

Brynn Gitt, IOWA

Alyssa Parker, MD

Jaime Dean, MICH

Becky Stiles, MSU

Kristin Wirtz, NU

Alexis Allen, OSU

Katie Andrews, PSU

Jenn Staab, RU

Unanimous selections in ALL CAPS

*Additional honorees due to ties