Colorado Springs, Colo. – September 5, 2013 - Summer may be winding down, but things are just starting to heat up on the turf for collegiate field hockey teams across the country. With two-a-days over and classes back in session, many teams kicked off their 2013 season last weekend. This season is sure to hold a lot of excitement with many changes across Division I field hockey conferences and intense competition across Division II and III.
The 2013 Penn Monto/NFHCA Pre-Season Rankings are in and always a subject of discussion among the field hockey community. With five of the top ten ranked schools in the Pre-Season Poll hailing from the ACC, the conference is guaranteed to thrill. North Carolina finds themselves perched at number one yet again with Maryland close behind at number two. Syracuse secured the number five slot, while UVA and Duke hold down the seven and ten spots for the ACC. 2013 is also truly a commencement year for the ACC as it marks the beginning year for the Syracuse Orange and the ending year for the Maryland Terps as a part of the conference.
Currently ranked third in the nation, the Princeton Tigers of the Ivy League will look to defend their 2012 National Title. The University of Connecticut from the Big East rounds out the top five with the number four slot in the nation. 2013 marks the inaugural season for perennial powerhouse ODU with the Big East as they look to climb the rankings from their current 8th place seating. This season also marks the last chance for Louisville and Rutgers to make a run at glory in the Big East before they move onto the ACC and Big 10 next year, respectively. The Big 10 is represented by the Penn State Nittany Lions at number six and the Michigan Wolverines at number nine. The Lady Lions surely intend to keep the Big 10 title in State College.
Division II games mostly begin this upcoming weekend. West Chester hopes to make a hat trick of National Championships this season, as they are ranked number one under the direction of 2012 Dita/NFHCA National Coach of the Year, Amy Cohen. Shippensburg is knocking closely at their door in the number two spot. The Bloomsburg Huskies, currently ranked third, have won seven championships between 2002 and 2010 and are hungry for the sweet taste of National Championship victory once again. The Millersville Marauders, number four, and the Merrimack Warriors, number five, both intend to improve on last year’s success and prove their talents against the top three teams again this year.
Division III contests went underway beginning last weekend. The Tufts Jumbos, currently ranked as the top D III team in the nation, hope to make National Championships a habit and hold onto their title this year. They are led by Tina McDavitt, Dita/NFHCA 2012 National Coach of the Year for Division III. The Montclair State Red Hawks, slotted at number two, are vying to surpass last season’s successes as the national champion runner-up and knock off the reigning titleholders. Last year’s NESCAC champions, the Middlebury Panthers, have found themselves in the number three spot with Bowdoin close behind at number four. Bowdoin is proudly home to the National Championship trophies of 2007 and 2008. Closing out the top five, Salisbury University has already kicked off their season with two wins and hopes to move their way up the rankings as the season progresses.
For the most up-to-date high school, college, and international field hockey information, be sure to regularly check usafieldhockey.com.