Field Hockey Unveils 2010 Schedule
June 3, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State head field hockey coach Charlene Morett unveiled the Nittany Lions' 2010 schedule on Thursday, which includes 17 games against teams from eight different conferences. Eleven are home games, the squad's most since 2003. They will also face seven 2009 NCAA Tournament teams, including two National Semifinalists. The Lions look to bounce back from an up-and-down 2009 in search of their 26th NCAA Tournament berth in program history.
"It's very exciting [to have 11 home games] because we do draw so well at home," said Morett. "Especially with this team being a little bit younger, they will feel that confidence and excitement at home."
Along with their normal six-game Big Ten schedule, Penn State will face three teams from the Atlantic 10, two from the ACC, NEC and Patriot League and one each from the BIG EAST, CAA and Ivy League.
"It's always a competitive schedule in the Big Ten," said Morett. "The conference gets stronger and stronger every year. We will consistently be challenged."
The season starts like it has in three of the last four seasons, with games against Old Dominion (Aug. 27, 5 p.m.) and Virginia (Aug. 29, 12 p.m.), both at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.
Despite a tough 2009 season, the Monarchs remain the winningest program in NCAA history. Meanwhile, Virginia is coming off an impressive 20-3 campaign in which it fell just short of the National Championship Game. The Cavaliers lost to ACC rival North Carolina in the semifinals.
The Nittany Lions travel to Connecticut the following week to face yearly foe UConn on Friday, Sept. 3. The second of seven '09 NCAA Tourney squads, the Huskies enjoyed an incredible regular season before being stunned by Drexel in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
"I think we see throughout that we need to stay sharp and continue to be challenged throughout the season, [and that's what this schedule brings]," said Morett.
Penn State then faces a quartet of Pennsylvania rivals to lead into Big Ten play. After hosting new Atlantic 10 entrant Lock Haven (Sept. 12, 12 p.m.) and Lafayette (Sept. 15, 6 p.m.), the Lions hit the road to face Temple (Sept. 18, 2 p.m.) and West Chester (Sept. 19, 12 p.m.) on consecutive days.
The Big Ten schedule begins with three straight at home, including the opener against NCAA Tourney squad Indiana on Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. They then host Michigan on Sunday at 12 p.m. and Iowa the following Saturday (Oct. 2, 12 p.m.) A day later, the Lions welcome Monmouth for their first-ever meeting against the Hawks.
A pair of challenging road games follow - at Michigan State (Oct. 8, 3 p.m.) and Ohio State (Oct. 17, 3 p.m.), both NCAA Tournament qualifiers.
Penn State welcomes a trio of squads for its final homestand of the season. After hosting local rival Bucknell (Oct. 19, 7 p.m.), Duke comes into town for the first meeting between the schools since 2004. That game is set for Oct. 23 at 12 p.m. Senior Day is the following day at 3 p.m. against National Semifinal participant Princeton.
"[Duke's] coach has really been trying to get us on their schedule," said Morett. "It worked out that we happened to have that bye week in our conference. It was very advantageous that it worked out that way. We'll have to go and play down there [in the future], but it's a challenge we'll embrace."
The regular season wraps up with a tilt at Northwestern (Oct. 29, 3 p.m.). The Big Ten Tournament is also at Northwestern, from Thursday (Nov. 4) until Sunday (Nov. 7).
The Lions hope to qualify for their 26th NCAA Tournament of all time, which begins with the first and second rounds on Nov. 13-14. The National Semifinals and Finals are the following weekend (Nov. 19-20).
Check back to GoPSUsports.com throughout the summer for continued updates as the squad looks ahead to the 2010 season.
Follow Penn State field hockey on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PennStateFH.