Weekend College Games: NCAA Division I Semifinals & Final

by USA Field Hockey

And then there were FOUR! The 2021 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Semifinal matches are set! Below is a breakdown of the upcoming games and how to watch!

On Sunday, three top-seeded teams in the tournament entered the NCAA Division I Second Round, but none will be playing any further. No. 1 Rutgers, No. 2 Iowa and No. 3 Michigan all lost, breaking the tournament wide open with the upsets all going into shootouts.

In the NCAA Semifinals, which will take place Friday, November 19, Liberty will meet Maryland, while Harvard will take on Northwestern. The winners of the Semifinals will face off in the Division I National Championship on Sunday, November 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET. Michigan will host the NCAA Semifinals and Final at Phyllis Ocker Field Hockey Field in Ann Arbor, Mich. To start the day, Liberty shocked Rutgers by scoring the tying goal with just a little more than three minutes left in the game and eventually prevailed in the shootout. Then, after hours of weather delays and 80 minutes of scoreless action, Harvard beat Michigan in a shootout to end the night.

ESPN and the NCAA announced that the NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship Semifinals and Final will be presented live on ESPN’s linear and digital networks through at least 2023. ESPN’s coverage of the NCAA Division I Championship played in May 2021 was outstanding, and was the first-time since the 1987 championship that the regular fall-season NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship was televised.

“We are extremely excited for the continued coverage that ESPN is providing the NCAA Division I Championship,” said Simon Hoskins, USA Field Hockey’s Executive Director. “Not only does it showcase the highest level of collegiate competition, but it also exposes the sport for many to enjoy right from their homes. We hope many will be inspired to pick up a stick and get in the game.”


The 2021 Semifinals will be aired on ESPN+ on Friday, November 19 at 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. ET, with the title game televised live on ESPNU on Sunday, November 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET. Additionally, the championship trophy presentation, immediately following the conclusion of the title game, will be carried on ESPN3.

Friday, November 19, 2021

NCAA Semifinals 

Liberty 3 - 2 Maryland OT | 1:00 p.m. ET | ESPN+

Liberty (19-2) earned a 3-2 shootout win over No. 1 Rutgers on Sunday to earn a spot in the NCAA Semifinal, their first time in program history. Maryland (15-6) downed Syracuse 2-1 to advance to the program's 20th Semifinal and first since 2018.

Liberty’s Charlotte Vaanhold sealed the victory with her goal as the fifth Lady Flame in the shootout. Vaanhold’s goal made it 4-2 in the shootout with only one remaining Rutgers player to go. Liberty sophomore goalkeeper Azul Iritxity Irigoyen stopped two of Rutgers’ four chances in the shootout.

The Lady Flames trailed 2-1 with under four minutes remaining in regulation before senior Jill Bolton scored the equalizer on a penalty corner at the 56:46 mark.

After a scoreless 20 minutes of overtime and double overtime, the game was settled in a shootout. The Lady Flames’ first, second, fourth and fifth shooters – Bolton, Reagan Underwood, Maddie Hosler and Charlotte Vaanhold – each scored to secure the win.


Liberty improves to 19-2 overall and extends its winning streak to 16 games, the longest streak in the country. The Lady Flames earned their first first-ever victory in program history over a No. 1-ranked team.


Anna Castaldo broke open the scoreless match with a goal in the third quarter to take the lead for Maryland. Kyler Greenwalt brought the ball up off a long run, then Hope Rose sent it over to Castaldo for a shot in front of the cage. A minute into the fourth quarter, Syracuse tied the match off a penalty corner when Eefke van den Nieuwenho knocked one in. Ninety seconds later, Bibi Donraadt scored the game winner when she finished off a pass from Emma DeBerdine from just inside the circle.

The trio of Riley Donnelly, Rayne Wright and Maura Verleg were stout on the defensive end as the team held the Orange without a shot on goal for the first 46 minutes of the game. After making five saves against Virginia on Friday afternoon, goalkeeper Noelle Frost was tasked with making just one save on the day.

The winner of this NCAA Semifinal game will advance to the Final on Sunday, November 21.

Harvard 1 - 2 Northwestern OT | 4:00 p.m. ET | ESPN+

Harvard (17-1) upended No. 3 Michigan 1-0 in a shootout to advance to the NCAA Semifinals for the first time in program history. Northwestern defeated No. 2 Iowa 1-0 to move on to the NCAA Semifinal.

Harvard, which successfully defended six penalty corners in the fourth quarter and overtime periods, also had chances of their own in extra time, putting five shots on Michigan goalkeeper Anna Speiker in the first and second overtime periods. In the deciding penalty shootout, Harvard went a perfect 3-for-3, with Rachel Greenwood, Mimi Tarrant and Isa Gooijer all scoring for the Crimson. Junior goalkeeper Ellie Shahbo made three stops in net, including the decisive save on Halle O'Neill to win it and send the Crimson team spilling onto the field.
Lauren Wadas scored with just one minute left in regulation to lift Northwestern over Iowa.

The winner of this NCAA Semifinal game will advance to the Final on Sunday, November 21.


Sunday, November 21, 2021

NCAA Final 

Liberty vs. Northwestern | 2:30 p.m. ET | ESPNU

A historical milestone for Liberty (20-2), as they registered their first NCAA Division I Semifinal win against Maryland in double overtime to capture their first appearance in the national title match. Northwestern battled the elements, an hour delay and a stingy Harvard defense to advance to the NCAA Championship game for the first time in program history after a 2-1 win in overtime. 

The Flames' Charlotte Vaanhold scored the game-winning goal in double overtime, giving Liberty a 3-2 victory over Maryland. Liberty improves to 20-2 on the season and will head to its first national championship game in school history at the Division I level. The Lady Flames extend their winning streak to 17 games.

Northwestern's Maddie Zimmer overcame a tide of Harvard defenders to earn the final penalty corner just two minutes into overtime and Bente Baekers put it away. Once again the Wildcat offense was stifling and easily outpaced Harvard. The 'Cats put up a whopping 10 shots, eight of which were on goal, and earned four corners. Northwestern is the only team in the country to net two goals against the Crimson defense this season.

This is a rematch of the September 7 game between the Lady Flames and Wildcats. Northwestern edged Liberty 4-3 in that contest in what was the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

To add to the excitement of the fall season being back on schedule, USA Field Hockey and the Michigan State Chapter have partnered to support the NCAA with a fun-filled schedule of ancillary events at the NCAA Division I Championship. Designed for athletes, coaches, umpires and fans of all levels, each day boasts something different with the chance to socialize, network, learn and enjoy field hockey.

Register for the Ancillary Events here.