NCAA field hockey season underway
August 31, 2022
Field hockey or, as we like to call it, fockey, action is officially underway.
SOURCE: TONY DING/NCAA PHOTOS VIA GETTY IMAGES
The GIST: Field hockey or, as we like to call it, fockey, action is officially underway. The NCAA regular season began last Friday, so we’re giving you the scoop on all the (hi)jinks.
How it works: Seventy-nine NCAA programs play through the end of October with the nation’s top 18 teams earning a national tourney berth. Ten of the 18 teams are determined by winning conference championships, but only six of those automatically qualify for the bracket.
- The bottom four conference champs must compete in the two play-in matches. The other eight bracket spots are selected by a committee.
- Those two play-in games determine the 16-squad single-elimination bracket before the final four teams travel to UConn to try and hoist the trophy on November 20th.
The favorites: Last year’s champs, Northwestern, unsurprisingly sit atop the Division I National Coaches poll, with dynasty UNC — who’s nabbed a record nine titles — holding it down at No. 2.
- The Big Ten is one to watch this year. Including No. 1 Northwestern, the conference boasts four schools in the top five rankings with No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Maryland and No. 5 Iowa. And Rutgers, Penn State and Ohio State clock in at Nos. 8, 11 and 22, respectively. Show-offs.
- Watch out for some Week 1 movement, though, because No. 8 Rutgers already dropped a double overtime and penalty shoot-out nailbiter 2–1 to No. 18 Duke as well as a shocking 5–0 blowout to No. 16 St. Joseph’s. Yikes.