Sam Janicki/Michigan Athletics

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Weekend College Games, Division I Season Opener

Each week, USA Field Hockey highlights upcoming college games to watch.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2023


DI: NO. 11 SAINT JOSEPH'S VS NO. 15 UCONN | 1:00 PM ET | (ESPN+) ($)

Photo by: Brian Foley

UConn travels to Philadelphia on Friday afternoon for their season opener against Saint Joseph’s. This will be the very first meeting between the Huskies and the Hawks.

St Joseph's will look to make more waves this year after their historic 2022 campaign, which included an Atlantic 10 (A10) conference title and the program’s first ever NCAA Tournament win. Four Hawks were recently named to the A10 Preseason All-Conference Team – Katy Benton, Manu Ghigliotti, Lily Santi, and Sol Borensztein.

UConn ended their 2022 season at 11-7 after falling, 2-1, to Liberty in the Big East Semifinal. The Huskies added Maddie Hinch, a three-time FIH Goalkeeper of the Year award winner to their coaching staff in the offseason. 

 

DI: NO. 19 UALBANY VS MASSACHUSETTS | 2:00 PM ET | (AE TV)

Photo by: Thom Kendall

A pair of New England foes face off as Massachusetts will make the journey over to No. 19 UAlbany on Friday at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Last season, UAlbany pulled off an exciting overtime upset over then-No. 4 Michigan to advance to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament, but fell there with a narrow 1-0 loss to Penn State. The Great Danes finished with a record of 16-5, while UMass concluded their 2022 season 14-6 overall, ending with a 3-0 loss to Saint Joseph’s in the A10 Championship match. Three Minutewomen – Jess Beech, Mali Herberhold, and Myrte van Herwijnen were all recently named to the A10 Preseason All-Conference Team. 

The two met in October of last year, when UAlbany pulled out a 2-1 victory in a hotly contested double-overtime match. The Great Danes are 5-2 in overall meetings.

  

DI: NO. 6 VIRGINIA VS NO. 5 PENN STATE | 6:00 PM ET | (ACCNX) ($)

Photo by: Virginia Athletics

It’s a top-ten match-up as No. 6 Virginia kicks off their 2023 campaign by hosting No. 5 Penn State at Turf Field on Friday.

Stocked with veteran talent after a stellar 2022 season, Penn State had three athletes named to the Big Ten (B1G) Players to Watch List – Mackenzie Allessie, Brie Barraco, and reigning B1G Player of the Year Sophia Gladieux. Virginia, who was picked to finish second behind North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Preseason Coaches Poll, recently saw sophomore Daniela Mendez-Trendler named to the Preseason All-ACC Team.

 The Lions and the Cavaliers have faced off every opening weekend since 2009 (excluding the 2020 season). Last August, Penn State picked up a 3-2 win over Virginia, and is 11-4 overall against the Cavaliers.

 

DI: NO. 1 NORTH CAROLINA VS NO. 4 MICHIGAN | 8:30 PM ET | (ACCN) ($)

Photo by: Dianna Oatridge

Witness Erin Matson’s official head coaching debut as North Carolina hosts Michigan as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Friday night.

Michigan, who went 14-6 last season, will test their strength by taking on reigning champion North Carolina, who ended their 2022 campaign with a perfect 21-0 record. Three Wolverines were recently named to the B1G Players to Watch list – seniors Lora Clarke, Kate McLaughlin, and Anouk Veen. For the Tar Heels, sophomores Sietske Brüning and U.S. Women’s National Team athlete Ryleigh Heck were named to the Preseason All-ACC Team.

The pair met almost exactly one year ago in the 2022 iteration of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, where North Carolina executed a dominant 5-1 win over Michigan. In the year prior, it was the Wolverines who claimed a 3-2 victory in the Challenge.

 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 26, 2023



DI: UC DAVIS VS. MIAMI (OH) | 6:00 PM ET | ESPN+ ($)

Photo by: Brian Mack

UC Davis opens its season with the first of four games against perennial tournament teams, hosting Miami (OH) as the RedHawks make a two-game California road trip. Miami is a perfect 7-0 against the Aggies historically, but the last matchup — in 2019 — was a narrow 2-1 win.

Behind a stifling defense — one that ranked first in save percentage and second in goals against average — Miami posted a 14-win campaign a season ago, eventually falling in overtime to eventual national runners-up Northwestern in the NCAA Tournament. The RedHawks remain the favorite to win the Mid-American Conference (MAC), finishing five points ahead of Kent State in the conference’s preseason poll.

UC Davis, meanwhile, enters year two under head coach Austin Pile, who took over in March of 2022. The Aggies will have a golden opportunity for an early statement win: they face Rutgers on Friday, then Miami, then Maryland and Michigan loom on the schedule.

 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2023

 


DI: TEMPLE VS BUCKNELL | 12:00 PM ET | ESPN+ ($)

Photo by: Lianne Garrahan

Temple and Bucknell face off on Sunday at noon after each take on a Philadelphia foe on Friday. The Owls will take on La Salle for their opener while Bucknell travels to Drexel.

Both teams had one honoree in this year’s preseason awards. For Bucknell, Lily Neilson was selected as the Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year after ranking 10th in the nation in goals per game (0.82) her sophomore season. A force in the midfield, Temple’s Tess Muller was a Preseason All-Big East Team selection.

After Bucknell took a 2-1 victory against Temple at Temple’s home field in 2021, the Owls turned it around in 2022 when they downed the Bison, 5-2, in their home stadium. Temple leads in overall matchups, 6-4.

DI: NO. 2 NORTHWESTERN VS NO. 9 LOUISVILLE | 12:00 PM ET | B1G+ ($)

Photo by: Adam Creech

No. 2 Northwestern opens their 2023 season at home on Lakeside Field against No. 9 Louisville on Sunday. 

The Wildcats look to start off another dominant season after getting so close to winning a second straight Division I title last fall. The Cardinals, a strong team who finished with a 1-5 conference record last season, will use this match to help them prepare for tough ACC opponents.

Louisville’s offensive leader in senior Aimee Plumb was one of 11 players selected to the Preseason All-ACC Team, while Peyton Halsey, Annabel Skubisz, and Lauren Wadas were included as B1G Players to Watch for Northwestern.

When the pair last matched up, head coach Justine Sowry picked up her 100th win when the Cardinals defeated the Wildcats, 1-0. Louisville leads 8-3 in overall meetings.




Images courtesy of Sam Janicki/Michigan Athletics, Brian Foley/UConn Athletics, Thom Kendall/UMass Athletics, Virginia Athletics, Dianna Oatridge/Michigan Athletics, Brian Mack/Miami(OH) Athletics, Lianne Garrahan/Bucknell Athletics, Adam Creech/Louisville Athletics

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