Aug. 24, 2010
Park Ridge, Ill. - All seven Big Ten field hockey teams were mentioned in the Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I preseason poll, the National Field Hockey Coaches Association announced Tuesday. Five were ranked in the top 20, while two also received votes in the year's first poll.
After winning both the Big Ten Championship and the Big Ten Tournament for the first time in school history, Michigan State earned the highest ranking in the poll of any Big Ten team, checking in at No. 7. The Spartans are followed by Ohio State at No. 14, Indiana at No. 17, Penn State at No. 18 and Iowa at No. 19 in the preseason poll. Northwestern and Michigan also received votes in the first poll of 2010.
Michigan State enters the 2010 season seeking its second Big Ten title and eighth NCAA Championship appearance after finishing 18-4 overall and 6-0 in conference play in 2009.
Ohio State posted a 13-7 overall record and a 4-2 mark in Big Ten play last season. The Buckeyes tied for second in the Big Ten and advanced to the NCAA Championship.
The Hoosiers return 13 starters from a team that finished 14-7 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten, tying with Ohio State for second and advanced to the Big Ten Tournament Championship match and NCAA Championship.
Penn State appears in the poll at No. 18 coming into the 2010 season. The young Nittany Lions feature eight freshman, five sophomores, three juniors and three seniors. Iowa grabs the No. 19 spot with seven returning starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's season after finishing fourth in the Big Ten.
Michigan returns seven starters, 10 letterwinners and six of its top seven scorers back in the lineup. Northwestern posted a 12-8 overall record last season, the most wins in a season since 1995, and return seven starters and multiple years of starting experience in 2010.
The 2010 Big Ten field hockey season kicks off this Friday, with Northwestern at Syracuse and Penn State facing Old Dominion. The conference's five other teams will start competition Saturday and Sunday.