The regular season for Division I field hockey comes to a close this weekend, and many schools will be making last-ditch efforts to climb up the rankings before next weekend’s conference tournaments. This past week saw several powerhouses clinch their regular-season titles and secure spots in their respective conference tournaments. But many more teams will be looking to cement their postseason fate. Here are the three games to watch during this pivotal weekend.
RELATED: NFHCA Top 25
No. 15 James Madison (10-5, 3-1 CAA) at No. 19 William & Mary (12-5, 4-1 CAA)
Friday at 6 p.m. ETJames Madison takes on William & Mary on Friday with each team hoping to bolster their position with the postseason looming. The Dukes travel to Williamsburg to face a William & Mary squad that’s lost one game in the last month. While both sides have already clinched spots in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, there’s still a lot on the line. Both teams will be angling for a win in order to help secure a higher seed (and home field advantage) for next weekend’s conference tournament.
JMU will then travel to Towson on Sunday for its final regular season game. Towson has won just one game this season. Elsewhere in the CAA, the current conference leader and reigning NCAA champion Delaware will play its final two games on the road this weekend. The Blue Hens are undefeated in conference play this season and need just one win to clinch the top seed in the conference tournament. But if Delaware gets swept on the road, it could open up the No. 1 spot to JMU or William & Mary. No matter what, the CAA appears poised to send multiple teams to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2012.
No. 11 Boston College (11-6, 0-6 ACC) at No. 1 UConn (15-0, 6-0 Big East)
Sunday at 1 p.m. ET
As if Boston College’s schedule wasn’t tough enough — the team went winless in ACC play — the Eagles close out their regular season on the road at top-ranked UConn on Sunday. The undefeated Huskies already clinched the Big East season title for a fifth straight year and 17th time overall. UConn is averaging more goals per game than any other Division I school right now. BC will have a tough time shutting down the Huskies, who have had 10 different players score this season. Chief among UConn’s scorers is senior Charlotte Veitner, whose 109 career goals is a record among all active NCAA players.
UConn will face Quinnipiac on Friday before capping off its spectacular season against BC on Sunday. This game will be Boston College’s final tune-up before the ACC tournament, where it'll take on Duke.
No. 4 Virginia (14-3, 5-1 ACC) at Old Dominion (7-8, 4-2 Big East)
Sunday at 2 p.m. ET
The fourth-ranked Virginia Cavaliers travel to Norfolk, Virginia, on Sunday to take on in-state rival Old Dominion. Although not much will be at stake, the game is representative of a changing of the guard in Division I field hockey. The Old Dominion Monarchs are the most decorated program in DI history with nine NCAA titles — more than any other school — but none since 2000. Now ODU is seeking its first NCAA tournament berth since 2013, which was the team’s first year in the Big East after switching from the Colonial Athletic Association.
Meanwhile, Virginia’s star continues to rise, despite playing in the ACC — the most competitive conference in field hockey. The Cavaliers are the reigning ACC champions after winning the conference tournament for the first time last year. They’ve already nabbed the 2017 regular season ACC title and the top seed for next weekend’s conference tournament, where they’ll have a bye into the semifinal round.
Both teams look to end their regular seasons on a high note when they face off on Sunday.