Three Big Ten Teams to Participate in 2008 NCAA Field Hockey Championship
Nov. 12, 2008
The Big Ten will have three representatives in the 2008 NCAA Field Hockey Championship as Iowa, Michigan State and Penn State have been selected to participate in this year's 16-team tournament. This is the ninth time out of the last 10 seasons that the Big Ten has sent three or more teams to the NCAA Championship. The national semifinals will be held on Nov. 21 and the championship game on Nov. 23 in Louisville, Ky., hosted by the University of Louisville.
With its second consecutive Big Ten Tournament Championship, Iowa (16-4) earned the conference's automatic NCAA berth. This is the 20th time that the Hawkeyes have qualified for the NCAA Championship, and the fourth time in the last five years (2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008). Iowa, ranked sixth in the latest STX/NFHCA National Coaches Poll, will battle No. 13 Louisville (14-6) in the opening round. The Hawkeyes met Louisville earlier in the season, defeating the Cardinals, 1-0, on the road. Iowa enters the tournament with an all-time record of 24-20 in NCAA Championship play and owns an 8-3 mark in first-round action. Iowa has made 10 trips to the national semifinals and was crowned national champion in 1986.
After earning a Big Ten Championship this season, the No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions (13-6) will face off against No. 9 Princeton (16-2) in the first round of competition. Penn State is making its 15th NCAA appearance, and fourth straight. The Nittany Lions own a 14-14 record in championship play and are 9-4 in opening round games.
Rounding out the Big Ten contingent is Michigan State. The Spartans enter the weekend with a 16-5 record and are ranked No. 10 in the nation. East Lansing will serve as an opening-round host site. The Spartans will meet seventh-ranked North Carolina (14-5) on Saturday, Nov. 15. Michigan State is making its sixth NCAA Championship appearance and owns a 6-5 record in the event. The Spartans hold a 4-1 record in first-round competition.