Sept. 14, 2004
The Big Ten was well-represented in the first STX/NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll of 2004, as five of the seven Conference institutions were ranked among the top 20 in the country, including Michigan State, which earned the No. 1 ranking. This marked the first time that a Big Ten squad has claimed the top spot since Penn State also opened the season at No. 1 in the September 12, 1999 rankings.
The Spartans, who are undefeated with a 7-0 record, collected 551 points and 15 first-place votes to earn the No. 1 spot. Michigan followed in ninth place with 322 points and Indiana was rated No. 17, while Northwestern and Penn State both tied for 19th place. Ohio State and Iowa also received votes to round out the poll.
While the non-conference slate is two weeks old, Big Ten play begins September 24 and the 11th annual Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament will be held November 5-7 on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Last season, the Conference qualified three teams (Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State) for the 2003 NCAA Field Hockey Championship for the third straight year. The Wolverines, who won the 2001 NCAA title, advanced to the semifinals, but fell to eventual national champion Wake Forest, while the Spartans and the Nittany Lions suffered losses in the second round.