Knull Announces 2018 Field Hockey Slate
East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State field hockey head coach Helen Knull announced the schedule for the upcoming 2018 season on Monday, highlighted by nine matches at home, the traditionally strong Big Ten Conference slate and four against teams that played in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
"We are very excited heading into this season," Knull said. "We have a challenging slate of games ahead of us, including an always competitive Big Ten schedule, but it's something we are looking forward to with the team we have returning back to Ralph Young Field."
MSU opens the season with its traditional preseason scrimmage against Michigan on Saturday, Aug. 18 (1 p.m.).
The regular season starts the following weekend, with MSU hosting Old Dominion and Kent State for a pair of games. The Spartans play Old Dominion on Friday, Aug. 24 in the season opener at 1 p.m. and then play Kent State on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 1 p.m. ODU and Kent State will play on Saturday, Aug. 25 at 1 p.m.
Michigan State hits the road the following weekend, visiting Connecticut for a trio of games. MSU plays at UCONN, the 2017 NCAA Champions, on Friday, Aug. 31 (5 p.m.), and then plays at Quinnipiac on Sunday, Sept. 2 (noon) and at Yale on Monday, Sept. 3 (1 p.m.).
The Spartans return home for three games, hosting Monmouth on Friday, Sept. 7 (3 p.m.) and Pacific on Sunday, Sept. 9 (1 p.m.).
Big Ten Conference play starts on Saturday, Sept. 15 with a matchup against 2017 national runner-up Maryland at 1 p.m.
Seven of the last 10 games are away from home, starting with a non-league matchup at Central Michigan on Tuesday, Sept. 18 (4 p.m.). Conference games at Rutgers (Sept. 21) and Penn State (Sept. 23) follow before returning home to play Iowa (Sept. 28) and Northwestern (Sept. 30).
Four of Michigan State's five matches in October are away from home. The team will play at Indiana on Friday, Oct. 5 (3 p.m.) and at Louisville on Sunday, Oct. 7 (noon).
MSU hosts Michigan on Friday, Oct. 12 for its last regular season home game and then plays at Ohio State (Friday, Oct. 19) and Miami (Sunday, Oct. 21).
The Big Ten Tournament opens with a weekend of campus site quarterfinal games (Oct. 26-28). The semifinals and championship game will be held during the weekend of Nov. 2-4 at Northwestern.
Michigan State returns 16 letterwinners and seven starters from last year's team, which finished 8-11 overall and lost to Maryland in the Big Ten Quarterfinals. Among the returnees are rising sophomores Lia Sinisi, who started every game last year, and Cara Bonshak, as well as an experienced backfield, including seniors Bailey Higgns, Amanda Robinson and junior Hannah Ackers.
"We had a group of players who gained valuable playing time that forced them to grow and develop their games during the 2017 season," Knull said. "I expect to see our incoming freshman class contributing on all lines of the field and complementing our style of hockey. The forward line is going to see a lot of new faces due to graduating our leading scorers, but the returning attackers have worked hard this offseason and we are looking forward to seeing the hard work in action come August."