Six home games highlight competitive field hockey schedule

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Priding itself on consistently holding one of the strongest and most competitive schedules in the nation, the Penn State field hockey team and head coach Charlene Morett have announced the 2013 fall schedule. The Nittany Lions will host six contests at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex, as well as face eight opponents that competed in the 2012 NCAA Field Hockey Tournament, including reigning champion Princeton.

Coming off one of the most impressive seasons in program history, with the Lions ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation heading into the NCAA Tournament, Penn State will go to work defending the Big Ten regular season and the Big Ten Tournament titles. Big Ten Coach of the Year Morett and her squad captured their first outright conference title since 2008 and second consecutive tournament championship, earning an automatic berth to the 2013 National Tournament. After moving past Albany in the first round, the Lions fell to Syracuse after a physical battle in the quarterfinals.

This year’s Big Ten Tournament will be held in Columbus, Ohio, which is slated to begin on Nov. 7. The Lions, boasting the 2012 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in Kelsey Amy and the 2012 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in returning senior Brittany Grzywacz, hope to post back-to-back-to-back championships. The Lions will kick off the 2013 conference season on Sept. 22 at Indiana, and will go on to host three Big Ten contests over the duration of the season.

Following a scrimmage against NCAA Tournament Semifinalist Maryland on Aug. 23, Penn State will open its schedule with contests at Old Dominion and Virginia on Aug. 30 and 31, respectively. Last season, the Lions opened with a 2-0 record for the first time since 2007, topping the No. 3 Monarchs 5-3 and the No. 9 Cavaliers 3-2.

The 2013 home schedule will open with Temple on Sept. 6, followed by rival Connecticut on Sept. 8. Penn State looks to seek revenge after falling in a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to the Huskies, who advanced to the NCAA Semifinals last season. The Lions have not posted a win over UConn since 2006. From there, PSU will head to instate foe Lock Haven on Sept. 11 before traveling to defending NCAA Champion Princeton on Sept. 15. The Tigers defeated No. 1 seeded North Carolina, 3-2, in the championship game, and posted a 3-2 overtime victory over the Lions during the regular season.

Penn State will play a slew of non-conference contests in lieu of the Big Ten opener against Indiana, hosting Delaware on Sept. 20 and traveling to NCAA Tournament qualifier Lafayette and Miami of Ohio on Sept. 22 and 28, respectively. The Lions will then host back-to-back conference opponents, with Northwestern traveling to Happy Valley on Oct. 5 and Ohio State taking to the field on Oct. 11. A non-conference battle with Bucknell on Oct. 13 will precede the final home contest of the 2013 season, with Michigan State visiting University Park on Oct. 19.

Continuing Big Ten action, Penn State will head to Iowa City, Iowa on Oct. 25 to face the Hawkeyes, with the squad taking on U.C. Davis on Oct. 26, as well, to complete the weekend road trip. The Lions’ final regular season contest will be against Big Ten foe Michigan, meeting for the first time on Nov. 1 since the Wolverines dropped their second consecutive conference tournament championship game to Penn State.

Besides defending both its Big Ten titles, the Penn State will look to make itsJeff 29th program appearance at the NCAA Tournament. Penn State has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in nine of the past 11 years, making five quarterfinal appearances, one semifinals appearance and one appearance as a NCAA Finalist in 2007. In the history of the field hockey program, the Lions have made seven semifinal appearances and two Championship game appearances. Penn State's overall record in NCAA Tournament play is 23-32 for the fourth-highest total of tournament games played to date.

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Last Updated May 23, 2013