With college field hockey season just weeks from officially starting and preseason scrimmages already well underway, fans may be looking to teams’ schedules to see what their favorite team will be doing this fall. While you might be busy following a single team, these five matchups look to be the most interesting of 2016, and you won’t want to miss them.
Michigan at Wake Forest
Aug. 28 at 11:30 a.m.
During the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Michigan, ranked No. 11 at the end of last year, will take on Wake Forest, ranked eighth at the end of last year. The last time these two met was during the first round of the NCAA tournament, where Michigan let an early lead carry it throughout the game to win by one goal and move onto the next round. However, during this matchup, Wake Forest outshot Michigan 11-4, so with powerhouse freshmen like Kelsey Gill and Lucy McKee coming in, Wake Forest might be able to take some revenge on Michigan early in the season.
Princeton at Virginia
Sept. 16 at 4 p.m.
Last year, this game was a nail-biter, ending with Virginia on top after scoring a goal in overtime. Fairly matched, these two teams have the opportunity to develop another close game. While Princeton’s roster is has an abundance of talent, Virginia will be on its home field, so it could be anyone’s game.
Syracuse at North Carolina
Sept. 23 at 6 p.m.
The last time these to faced off, Syracuse walked away with a national championship title. Now, North Carolina has a chance to retaliate after being defeated by two in the title match last year. North Carolina had trouble last year with keeping a tempo, but both teams are breaking in new goalies after Shannon Johnson and Jess Jecko graduated. Either way, North Carolina may be able to come out on top this season.
Boston College at Duke
Sept. 30 at 6 p.m.
During last season, these two met and left Boston College with a loss to add to its record. For that game, the Eagles outshot Duke and scored the first goal of the game, but Duke quickly answered the goal. Still, neither team was able to score until the second half, illustrating how equally matched the two teams are. This year, Duke has a number of game-changing players on its team, which might make it difficult for Boston College to defeat the Blue Devils.
UConn at Maryland
Oct. 23 at 12 p.m.
These two teams have not met in years, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a strong rivalry between them. During the NCAA tournament in 2012, UConn faced Maryland in the quarterfinals and lost 2-1. It was a blow that pushed UConn to take the title home the next year and 2014. However, Maryland has won eight national titles. These two teams haven’t seen each other for a while, and fans could see an interesting reunion.