Penn State Field Hockey Unveils 2009 Schedule
July 2, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State field hockey team released its 2009 schedule on Thursday which features games against eight NCAA Tournament teams from 2008, including National Champion Maryland and National Semifinalist Iowa. The Nittany Lions will play 18 regular season games, eight at home, eight on the road, and two neutral site games. The squad is looking to defend its Big Ten Regular Season Title which was its fifth overall and first since 2005.
"Our schedule has always been tough," Head Coach Charlene Morett said. "We consistently rank year-to-year as one of the top schedules in the country. We're certainly not going to back down at this point."
After a home exhibition game on Aug. 19 against Villanova, the regular season opens at Old Dominion (Aug. 28) and Virginia (Aug. 30).
"Both teams are going to be very strong that weekend," Morett said. "Opening at Old Dominion and Virginia will be a very tough task."
Last season, the Nittany Lions dominated nine-time national champion Old Dominion in holding the No. 8 Lady Monarchs shot-less in a 2-0 victory. The squad also defeated the then 10th ranked Cavaliers at AstroTurf Field as one of its four wins over ranked foes.
The home opener is set for Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. against local rival Lock Haven. Penn State looks to even the all-time series at 14-14-1 with a win on that Friday evening. The Nittany Lions then remaining home for a 12 p.m. contest on Sunday, Sept. 6 against powerhouse Connecticut.
The following weekend features a pair of games against NCAA Tournament teams on consecutive days. The Nittany Lions face defending champion Maryland on Sept. 12 and stay in College Park to face American University on Sept. 13. After two more games against intra-state rivals Lafayette and West Chester on Sept. 16 and 20, Penn State will head to New Jersey for a rematch at Princeton against the team that knocked it out of the NCAA Tournament last year. The game is set for 6 p.m. on Sept. 23 at the Class of 1952 stadium.
"Our nonconference schedule is very, very difficult, but at the same time, it prepares us for the conference," Morett said.
The Big Ten opener sees Penn State travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. to face the Michigan Wolverines on Sept. 27. The following Friday, Oct. 2, features the first home conference game as the Ohio State Buckeyes travel to University Park for a 5 p.m. tilt.
Sprinkled between the remaining conference games are nonconference clashes vs. Stanford (Oct. 5), Bucknell (Oct. 13), and a neutral site game against Pacific (Oct. 24). Key Big Ten games are set for at Iowa (Oct. 18) and home vs. Michigan State on Oct. 31. It will mark the second consecutive season that the Nittany Lions and Spartans face each other on Halloween day.
The schedule will be demanding which is something that Morett is used to.
"We don't really have a week where we can take a breather," she said. "Once we start training in August, it will be pedal to the medal until November."
The Nittany Lions hope they are playing deep into November as the Big Ten Tournament is slated to begin on Nov. 5 at East Lansing, Michigan while the NCAA First Round and Quarterfinals are set for Nov. 14 and 15. The National Semifinals and Finals are the following weekend, Nov. 20 and 22 at Wake Forest.