Aug. 23, 2005
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2005 SEASON BEGINS THIS WEEKEND
The 2005 Big Ten field hockey season begins this weekend, as six of the seven league teams are in action beginning on Saturday, Aug. 27. Defending regular-season tri-champion Iowa will host the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Iowa City with a field that includes three-time NCAA champion Wake Forest, as well as elite eight participants Michigan and North Carolina. The Hawkeyes open the Big Ten/ACC Challenge against the Deacons on Friday. The Wolverines, who shared the Big Ten title last season with Iowa and Michigan State, while also claiming the Big Ten Tournament crown, will take on North Carolina in Friday's second contest in Iowa City. Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern and Penn State will also be in action this weekend, while Ohio State opens its 2005 season on Monday, Aug. 29 against Maryland.
LOOK WHO'S BACK
Returning to Big Ten fields in 2005 are 11 All-Conference standouts from last season. Michigan's Lori Hillman, 2004 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, headlines the list of first-team All-League picks returning in 2005 and is joined by Ohio State's Curlyne Wynn and Penn State's Sara Cahill. The Big Ten also welcomes back eight second-team selections in Indiana's Lydia Schrott, Iowa's Debbie Birrell and Heather Schnepf, Michigan's Mary Fox, Michigan State's Michelle Huynh-Ba and Christina Kirkaldy, Northwestern's Meghan Small and OSU's Saskia Mueller.
For four consecutive years, at least one Big Ten team has advanced to the NCAA Championship semifinals with Michigan State earning a spot last season. Michigan advanced to the semifinals in 2001 and 2003, while Penn State and the Spartans also claimed spots in 2002. The Big Ten has produced two national titles in field hockey, as Iowa claimed the league's first national crown in 1986 and Michigan won the 2001 national championship.