2016 Field Hockey Season In Review

Dec. 15, 2016

The Big Ten enjoyed a successful 2016 season that concluded with Maryland, Michigan and Penn State securing bids to the 2016 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Tournament.

NCAA Tournament: Three Big Ten teams were selected to compete in the NCAA Field Hockey Tournament. Maryland, Michigan and Penn State earned berths to the 16-team tournament.

After capturing their first Big Ten Tournament title since 2012, the Nittany Lions fell to Princeton 2-1 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Penn State made its 31st NCAA Tournament appearance this season.

Maryland made its 29th NCAA Tournament appearance, including its 22nd straight, dating back to the 1995 season. The Terrapins defeated UMass 2-1 in a shootout in the first round, before falling to North Carolina in the quarterfinals.

Michigan made their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 13th overall. The Wolverines fell to Virginia 2-1 in the first round. For the full NCAA Bracket, click here.

Regular-Season Crown: After earning its third straight outright Big Ten Championship with a win against Rutgers on Oct. 29, Maryland clinched the No. 1 seed in the 2016 Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament. For the full release, including the Big Ten Tournament bracket, click 

Big Ten Tournament Title: Two second half goals lifted second-seeded Penn State over top-seeded Maryland, 2-1, in the championship game of the Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex on Nov. 6. With the victory, Penn State (16-2, 6-2 Big Ten) earned the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, and secured its conference-leading seventh Big Ten Tournament title. For more information, including the All-Tournament Team, click here.

End-of-Year Awards: The Big Ten Conference announced its 2016 field hockey All-Big Ten teams and individual award winners on Wednesday, with Iowa, Maryland and Penn State collecting individual honors. The Terrapins’ Welma Luus, a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, was tabbed Player of the Year. Iowa’s Natalie Caffone claimed Offensive Player of the Year honors, while Maryland’s Grace Balsdon was selected as Defensive Player of the Year. Iowa’s Katie Birch collected Freshman of the Year accolades and Penn State’s Charlene Morett-Curtiss earned Coach of the Year recognition. For the complete list of All-Big Ten selections, click here.

All-America Accolades: Nine Big Ten Field Hockey players were named 2016 Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFCHA) Division I All-America honorees as announced by the NFCHA. For the complete list of All-America honorees, click here.

Academic All-Big Ten Honorees: The Big Ten Conference recognized a total of 1,010 students competing in fall sports who were named to the Academic All-Conference team. The list of honorees features 101 field hockey athletes. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, students 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. For the full list of honorees, click here.

Region Players of the Year: Iowa’s Natalie Cafone, the 2016 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, was named the West Region Player of the Year as announced by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. For more, click here.

Region Coaches of the Year: Penn State’s Char Morett-Curtiss was named the 2016 Front Rush/NFHCA Collegiate Regional Coach of the Year (NFHCA) for the Midwest region Mid-Atlantic the NFHCA announced. For more, click here.




  • Five Big Ten squads finished the season ranked in the top-20 of the Penn Monto/ NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll. Maryland checked in at No. 2, while Penn State and Michigan were close behind at No. 5 and No. 10, respectively. Northwestern checked in at No. 13, while Iowa was voted No. 18.
  • Three Big Ten teams ranked in the top-10 for scoring average this season. Penn State led the league and ranked fourth nationally, averaging 3.90. Northwestern earned a No. 5 ranking with a 3.46 scoring average and Iowa ranked seventh (3.33).
  • Five conference squads finished the season ranked among the top-25 in goals per game. Penn State led the league and ranked fourth nationally, scoring an average of 3.90 goals per game. Northwestern checked in at fifth (3.57), followed by No. 7 Iowa (3.37), No. 17 Rutgers (3.00), and No. 25 Michigan State (2.80).