2023 NCAA women's field hockey season preview
The GIST: As you read in our field hockey primer, fockey’s historically East Coast dominance is spreading West, so when the season starts today, both Big Ten and mid-major teams will be bullying for the ACC’s crown. Let’s Game of Thrones this pitch.
The powerhouses: Despite having a new head coach for the first time in the dynasty’s 42-year history, reigning champs UNC hold the preseason poll’s top spot. But breathing down the Tar Heels’ necks are 2021 victors No. 2 Northwestern, who are hungry for revenge after being edged out 2–1 by UNC in last year’s title game.
- After losing a heartbreaker in last year’s semis, No. 3 Maryland is back — and so is their leading scorer, junior Hope Rose. Also coming in strong is Michigan’s veteran roster, which earned them the No. 4 rank despite a major first-round upset last year.
The underdogs: No. 5 Penn State’s impressive 15-2 regular season and deep 2022 natty run have folks buzzing about their 6 p.m. ET opener against fellow dark horse No. 6 Virginia tonight. And with the Ivy League in their pocket, No. 10 Princeton have an opportunity to impress with their tough 2023 non-conference schedule.
What to watch: As is tradition, the season starts tonight with the ACC–Big Ten Challenge. No. 12 Wake Forest squares up against No. 7 Iowa at 6 p.m. ET, followed by host team UNC vs. Michigan at 8:30 p.m. ET, all on ACCN.
- Then on Sunday, they swap: Michigan faces Wake Forest at 10:30 a.m. ET before Iowa tests UNC at 1 p.m. ET on ACCNX. All gas, no brakes.