2013 Big Ten Field Hockey Season in Review

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The Big Ten enjoyed a successful 2013 field hockey season highlighted by two teams earning bids to the NCAA Field Hockey Championship. Northwestern and Penn State were crowned Big Ten co-Champions and Michigan State won the Big Ten Tournament title.

NCAA Bound: Two Big Ten teams competed in the NCAA Field Hockey Championships, as Michigan State and Penn State earned berths in the field. The Spartans participated in a play-in game and upset second-seeded Syracuse in the first round, before falling in the quarterfinals to eventual national champion Connecticut. The Nittany Lions lost a heartbreaker to Princeton in the opening round. For more on the NCAA Tournament, click HERE.

We Are The Champions: Northwestern and Penn State ended the regular season with matching 5-1 conference marks to finish the year as Big Ten co-Champions. The crown marked the second in a row for the Nittany Lions and seventh overall. The Big Ten Championship was the sixth for the Wildcats and first since 1994. For the complete releases, click HERE and HERE.

Tournament Titans: Third-seeded Michigan State claimed the Big Ten Tournament Championship on Sunday, Nov. 10th. The Spartans defeated fifth-seeded Iowa, 3-2, in the title match. The crown marked Michigan State's fourth Big Ten Tournament title and first since 2009. Spartan Abby Barker was tabbed Tournament MVP. For more on the Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament, click HERE.

Where We Rank: Four Big Ten field hockey teams appeared in the final Penn Monto/NFHCA Coaches Poll. Penn State came in at No. 9, followed by No. 17 Northwestern, No. 19 Iowa and No. 20 Michigan State. For the complete poll, click HERE.

And The Awards Go To: The Big Ten Conference announced its 2013 field hockey All-Big Ten teams and individual award winners on Nov. 7, with Iowa, Michigan Northwestern and Penn State collecting individual honors. Wolverine Rachael Mack was tabbed Player of the Year, and was a unanimous selection for Offensive Player of the Year. Nittany Lion Brittany Grzywacz was a unanimous pick for Defensive Player of the Year. Hawkeye Stephanie Norlander picked up Freshman of the Year accolades and Wildcat head coach Tracey Fuchs earned Coach of the Year recognition. For the complete release, click HERE.

All-America Honors: Nine Big Ten field hockey players were tabbed 2013 Longstreth/NFHCA All-Americans. Big Ten Player of the Year Rachael Mack of Michigan was tabbed a first-team selection, while Iowa's Natalie Cafone, Northwestern's Nikki Parsley, and Penn State's Laura Gebhart and Brittany Grzywacz were second-team picks. Indiana's Audra Heilman, Iowa's Dani Hemeon, Michigan State's Abby Barker and Northwestern's Tara Puffenberger claimed third-team honors. For more on the Longstreth/NFHCA All-Americans, click HERE.

Regional Recognition: Twenty-one Big Ten field hockey players were named to the 2013 Longstreth/NFHCA All-Region Teams. Thirteen student-athletes were tabbed first-team selections, led by Big Ten co-champions Northwestern and Penn State with three honorees each. The full list of conference players named to the All-Region Teams can be found HERE.

Best in the West: Michigan's Rachael Mack was named the 2013 Longstreth/NFHCA West Region Player of the Year. The Wolverine captain posted a career-high 21 goals, six assists and 48 points to lead the Big Ten and rank third nationally with a 1.05 goal-per-game average. She posted two hat tricks and netted seven game-winning goals this season. For the full release, click HERE.

Final National Stats: Numerous Big Ten standouts appeared among the top 25 of the final NCAA statistical leaders of 2013, including eight in the top 10. Iowa's Natalie Cafone led the nation in points per game, while Michigan's Rachael Mack was third. Penn State's Laura Gebhart finished third in assists per game.  Below is a complete list of Big Ten student-athletes in the top 25, which includes eight in the top 10. For the complete lists, click HERE.

Head of the Class: Following the conclusion of the fall season, the Big Ten recognized a total of 869 fall sports student-athletes who have been named to the Academic All-Conference team, which included 74 field hockey players. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners who are in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. At least 20 student-athletes maintained unblemished cumulative GPAs, including field hockey players Hannah Boyer of Indiana and Haley Kerstetter of Penn State. For the complete Academic All-Big Ten release, click here.

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