USA Field Hockey's weekly feature of highlighting some of the top college games in Division I, II and III is back for the 2022 season. Division II and III games have not officially started yet, so this week we are only highlighting Division I.
Friday, August 26, 2022
DI: No. 24 Miami (Ohio) vs. California | 2:00 p.m. ET | Live Stats
California has a two-game swing through Ohio this weekend, starting with Miami (Ohio) on Friday before taking on Ohio on Sunday. The game to watch is the Bears’ season opener, as both teams were above .500 last year: California was 10-7 while Miami was 12-11.
The RedHawks have dominated the Mid-American Conference (MAC), winning the last five regular season championships and fittingly earning the top spot in the MAC’s Preseason Poll. Miami hosted their first NCAA Tournament game in program history last season, beating Maine before falling to Michigan in the final seconds.
California and Miami have met five times previously, the latest in 2018 which ended in a 1-0 victory for the Bears. The last four meetings have been the epitome of even matchups, with each victory only being by one goal either in regulation or extra time. Both teams have won twice in these four contests.
DI: Lafayette vs. Temple | 4:00 p.m. ET | ESPN+ ($)
Temple will spend their Friday night away from the city in Easton, Penn. as they take on Lafayette.
The Owls are coming back from a bumpy end to their 2021 season where they lost seven of their last eight contests, finishing 8-11 overall. They’ll be looking to come out strong and make a statement against the Leopards, who finished 14-6 last year. Lafayette was voted second in the Patriot League Preseason Poll behind American, earning five first-place votes.
The pair faced off last season in an incredibly close contest. Lafayette was able to defend their 1-0 lead from the second quarter to claim victory over Temple.
Saturday, August 27, 2022
DI: Hofstra vs. Stone Hill | 1:00 p.m. ET | FloLive ($)
Stonehill will make their Division I debut this Saturday after finishing their previous season 15-5 in Division II. The Skyhawks open a 15-game schedule against Hofstra, who went 7-10 last year. The Pride is slated sixth in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Preseason Poll.
Stonehill will be competing in the Northeast Conference (NEC), which includes opponents such as Rider and Fairfield. It will be led by head coach Danielle Aviani in her first season coaching for the Skyhawks. Aviani, a former Kent State assistant coach, brings Division I experience in what will be an exciting transition.
DI: No. 25 Massachusetts vs. No. 22 Maine | 1:00 p.m. ET | Live Stats
Two of the Northeast’s top programs meet in Amherst, Mass., on Saturday as Maine travels to face Massachusetts. The contest will be a top-25 matchup according to the Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll rankings that were released yesterday.
After hoisting the conference trophy for the first-time in program history last season, Maine was picked to finish in the top spot in the America East Preseason Poll. Massachusetts, meanwhile, went 13-6 last season. The Minutewomen fell to Virginia Commonwealth in the first round of conference play despite beating eventual conference champion Saint Joseph’s in the regular season.
The pair have met a total of four times - twice in the past two seasons - with UMass claiming victory by a single goal in each meeting. The Black Bears’ 3-2 loss last season was due to a goal on a penalty corner in extra time.
Sunday, August 28, 2022
DI: No. 8 Rutgers vs. No. 16 Saint Joseph's | 4:00 p.m. ET | Big+ ($)
Rutgers opens their season by hosting the Battle on the Banks, a small round robin tournament that includes Saint Joseph’s and Duke. The Scarlet Knights take on the Hawks in the final matchup of the tournament on Sunday.
Rutgers and Saint Joseph’s are both coming off highly successful seasons, each winning their conference’s title - the Big 10 and Atlantic 10, respectively - before both fell to Liberty in the NCAA Tournament.
The Scarlet Knights set a program record number of wins with 19, a total that included victories over powerhouses such as Michigan, Penn State, Maryland and Northwestern. While the Hawks had fewer victories against ranked opponents, they were 16-5 overall on a tough schedule, including a win over then-No. 4 North Carolina.
When these two teams met early in the 2021 season, No. 17 SJU defeated eighth-ranked Rutgers, 2-1. The Hawks built a two-goal advantage entering the fourth quarter and saw out the victory. Historically, the two teams are even in the series with five wins apiece.
DI: No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Iowa | 4:00 p.m. ET | ACCNX ($)
Perennial contenders North Carolina and Iowa will meet again this Sunday in the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Last season, Iowa knocked off the top-ranked Tar Heels, 3-1, for the first time since 2008. When the pair met in 2020, it was the NCAA Tournament Semifinals and North Carolina cruised to a 3-0 victory. There is no doubt that North Carolina will be coming out of the gates fast, aiming to avenge last season’s defeat to Iowa.
The Hawkeyes had a stellar 17-3 season in 2021, losing only to Michigan and eventual NCAA Champion, Northwestern. The Tar Heels, despite underperforming relative to their usual standards last season, remain a force to be reckoned with. Iowa’s strong defensive line against UNC’s exceptional offense will be worth the watch.
North Carolina was ranked No. 2 in the preseason edition of the Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll, behind No. 1 Northwestern. They are the only team not in the Big Ten conference to find themselves in a top five spot.
DI: No. 17 Delaware vs. No. 12 Virginia | 1:00 p.m. ET | FloLive ($)
Reigning CAA champion Delaware takes on Virginia on Sunday afternoon.
Delaware has been a consistent contender in recent years, including claiming the national title in 2016. The Blue Hens placed first in the CAA Preseason Poll this year after winning the conference title for the third straight season in 2021 - their eighth in the past nine years. Virginia is coming off a 12-9 season with a few narrow defeats against top teams including Maryland and North Carolina.
In the last two seasons these teams faced off, Virginia has come out on top, including a 3-1 victory in 2021.
DI: No. 14 Boston College vs. No. 19 Old Dominion | 3:00 p.m. ET | ACCNX ($)
Boston College hosts Old Dominion on Sunday afternoon in Newton, Mass.
The Eagles had a prolific start to their 2021 season, climbing as high as No. 3 in the polls after beating Maryland and Northwestern in last year’s edition of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The promise of their six-win start fizzled out as they went 6-6 the rest of the season and fell in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship.
Old Dominion had a successful 13-5 season, with all five of their losses coming against ranked opponents. The Monarchs continue to have strong campaigns, and they are currently tied with North Carolina for the most National Championship titles (9).
This will be the first meeting on the pitch for these two programs, and the matchup looks promising.
ACC/Big Ten Challenge
In this annual tournament, teams from the ACC and the Big Ten meet up to open the season with some top-notch field hockey. It’s an exciting weekend that brings together strong teams that may not have the chance to meet until the postseason. This year, Wake Forest hosts North Carolina, Michigan and Iowa in Winston-Salem, N.C. Most of these games will be available on the ACC Network ($). The second iteration of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge will occur next weekend, featuring Maryland, Northwestern, Duke and host Boston College.
Friday, August 26, 2022
No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 3 Michigan | 2:30 p.m. ET
No. 5 Iowa vs. No. 20 Wake Forest | 4:00 p.m. ET
Sunday, August 28,. 2022
No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 20 Wake Forest | 1:30 p.m. ET
No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Iowa | 4:00 p.m. ET
Photo Credit: Temple Athletics, Maine Athletics/Ronald Gillis Jr., Rutgers Athletics/Ben Solomon, Virginia Athletics