Field Hockey Announces 2008 Schedule
July 10, 2008
University Park, Pa. - Penn State head field hockey coach Charlene Morett today announced the Nittany Lions' schedule for the upcoming 2008 season, which features a total of 18 regular season games, nine home and nine away, 10 of which will be against teams that qualified for last year's NCAA Tournament, eight that made the field of 16 and two that played in play-in games. The 2007 national runner-up Nittany Lions will play two of the other three final four teams from last year and four of the team's first five games will come against NCAA teams from last year.
"We are very excited to get the 2008 season underway," said Morett, who is entering her 22nd season at Penn State. "This year, as is no different from the past years, our schedule continues to be challenging with two teams that played in the Final Four, UNC and UConn and 10 schools that were in the NCAA tournament last year. We open with Old Dominion, who is a very strong and more experienced squad than last year. Maryland and Georgetown are new additions to our home schedule this year."
The Nittany Lions will open up the year with neutral site game against Old Dominion, which will be played on the campus of Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa. This will mark the sixth straight year that Penn State and Old Dominion have opened the season against each other. Last year, Penn State defeated the Monarchs for the first time since the 2003 season. Old Dominion is the only team in the country that owns more NCAA Tournament appearances than Penn State.
After the trip to the Philadelphia suburb to open the year, the Nittany Lions will return home for a Labor Day matinee against Maryland in a rematch of the teams' epic battle in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year, won by the Nittany Lions 1-0. That victory marked Penn State's first win over the Terps since the 1993 season as the Nittany Lions stunned the Terps on their home field. Now, Maryland will travel to Penn State for the first time since the 1995 season. The game scheduled for Monday, September 1 will also be the teams' first regular season meeting since that 1995 game, although the teams have met in the NCAA Tournament four times since then.
Penn State hits the road again the following weekend for a game at fellow 2007 final four participant UConn on Saturday, September 6. After that, Penn State will host a midweek home game against Temple on Wednesday, September 10 and then will travel to West Chester, Pa. for another neutral site game, this one a rematch of the national championship game from last year against defending national champion North Carolina on Saturday, September 13.
The following weekend, Penn State hosts Georgetown on Friday, September 19 in the Lions' first-ever meeting with the Hoyas before making another trip to West Chester on Sunday, September 21, this one for a matchup with the host Golden Rams. This will mark the 44th straight year that the Nittany Lions and Golden Rams have matched up on the field hockey pitch, the longest current-running series in school history.
After another midweek game, this one against Princeton on Wednesday, September 24, the Nittany Lions will open up Big Ten play at Ohio State to close out September on Sunday, the 28th. This will mark the third straight year that Penn State has opened up Big Ten play on the road and it will be the first time they have opened up conference play against the Buckeyes since 2004.
The month of October kicks off with a Wednesday home game against Lafayette on October 1. That will be followed by a short ride up Route 220 to face Lock Haven on Sunday, October 5. The following weekend will be a busy one at AstroTurf Field as the Nittany Lions host Iowa on Friday, October 10 in the Big Ten home opener, then Iowa and Virginia face off on Saturday and then the Nittany Lions take on the Cavaliers on Sunday. Penn State defeated the Cavaliers twice last year, including a one-goal win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Nittany Lions will visit Bucknell for the second straight season with a game on Tuesday, October 14 and then will play their final four Big Ten games of the year at Northwestern (Oct. 19), at home against Indiana (Oct. 24) and Michigan (Oct. 26) and then at Michigan State (Oct. 31) on Halloween to close out the regular season.
"As always the Big Ten continues to increase in strength and parity," said Morett. "The real challenge will be learning to persevere on the road as we will be playing consecutive weekends away from Happy Valley early in the season. I look forward to this competitive schedule in 2008 with great enthusiasm."
The Big Ten Tournament will be held in Bloomington, Ind. this year and hosted by Indiana for the first time. The NCAA Final Four will be hosted by Louisville, November 21-23.