June 2, 2014
East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State field hockey coach Helen Knull has announced the Spartan field hockey schedule for the upcoming season, with a number of challenging opponents on the slate. MSU will face four 2013 NCAA Tournament teams, including two of the four participants from last year's Final Four weekend (Maryland and runner-up Duke). The Spartans will face nine teams in their 18-game schedule that ended the 2013 season ranked in the top 25.
The schedule features eight games at Ralph Young Field, eight road games, and two neutral site games. MSU will travel to Michigan for a pre-season scrimmage on August 23 before kicking off the regular season.
The Spartans jump right into action and start the year with a pair of weekend games at home, playing host to national runner-up Duke on Friday, August 29 and Maine on Sunday, August 31. The Blue Devils went 17-7 in 2013 and lost in the title game to a Connecticut team that knocked MSU out in the Quarterfinal. Duke head coach Pam Bustin was an assistant coach at Michigan State from 1992-97.
After opening at home, MSU hits the road for three straight weekends in September. The Spartans head to Washington, D.C. to play St. Joseph's on September 6 in a neutral-site game. On September 7, MSU takes on host American University, which finished 2013 with a 15-6 record, highlighted by a Patriot League title and NCAA Tournament appearance.
On September 13 and 14, Michigan State travels to head coach Helen Knull's alma mater, Kent State, for a set of games against the Golden Flahses and Richmond. Richmond finished 14-7 with a 6-1 record in A-10 play. This will be the first meeting between the two teams since their first and only meeting in 1993. Kent State won the regular-season MAC title, boasting a 4-1 record in conference play. Knull was a four-year starter and two-time captain for the Golden Flashes as a player and spent three years with the team as an assistant and associate head coach.
MSU opens up Big Ten play on Friday, September 19, when it travels to Ohio State. The Spartans have taken six of the last seven regular season matchups from the Buckeyes and are 9-5 in Big Ten openers since 2000.
After five straight road games, the Spartans return home for a weekend of Big Ten matchups on September 26 and 28. Friday's matchup features a showdown with Penn State, the winner of back-to-back Big Ten titles. On Sunday, MSU welcomes new Big Ten member Maryland. The Terrapins went 22-2 last year, winning the ACC championship and advancing to the national semifinal before losing to Duke. Maryland is a high-caliber program, with eight national titles under its belt.
After a short stint at home, the Spartans are back on the road for four games against Rutgers, Monmouth, Indiana and Ball State over the course of two weekends. It will be the first ever Big Ten matchup between MSU and the Scarlet Knights.
"It is an exciting time for conference play with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers," said head coach Helen Knull. "The Big Ten is now the largest conference in the country for field hockey. We are looking forward to a new era in the conference as new rivalries and traditions are formed. The Spartans will be playing in new territory, heading east to Maryland and New Jersey. We have players on the roster from both of those states, so it will be great to have family, friends and alums close by to support the Green and White."
Michigan State will play four of its final five games at home to end the season. The Spartans host Big Ten opponents Iowa (Oct. 17) and Northwestern (Oct. 19) before closing out conference play in Ann Arbor against in-state rival Michigan on October 24. The Wolverines will showcase a new field hockey complex this season, which is the site of the 2014 Big Ten Tournament along with the 2015 NCAA Final Four.
On October 16, the Spartans welcome Central Michigan to East Lansing before wrapping up the regular season on November 1 when they play host to Louisville. The Cardinals finished the 2013 season with a 15-5 record and were ranked 15th at season's end.
The Big Ten Tournament will take place in Ann Arbor, Mich. from November 6-9.