ROSEMONT, Ill. - The inaugural Big Ten women's lacrosse season gets underway on Saturday, with Ohio State hosting Detroit at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The remaining five conference teams will begin their seasons in the month of February.
Northwestern will travel to Southern California for its first game on Saturday, Feb. 7, while Michigan, Penn State and Rutgers will begin their seasons on Saturday, Feb. 14. The Wolverines will travel to Florida, Penn State will host Lehigh and Rutgers will entertain Villanova. Maryland will play at William & Mary in its season opener on Sunday, Feb. 15.
Four Big Ten women's lacrosse teams are ranked in both the Nike/Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Top-20 and Inside Lacrosse Division 1 Women's Media Top 20, including three top-10 squads. Maryland leads the way at No. 1/1 (Lacrosse Magazine/Inside Lacrosse), while Northwestern (No. 5/5), Penn State (No. 11/12) and Ohio State (No. 13/10) also appear among the top 20. Maryland was the unanimous choice to win the Big Ten Championship in the preseason coaches' poll.
The inaugural Big Ten Women's Lacrosse Tournament will be hosted by Rutgers from April 30 to May 3. The tournament will include all six conference programs, with two quarterfinal matches on Thursday. The top two seeds will receive byes to Friday's semifinals, followed by the championship match on Sunday.
In June 2013, the Big Ten announced the addition of men's and women's lacrosse as the conference's 27th and 28th sports. Big Ten women's lacrosse features teams that have won 24 national championships and 20 of the 33 NCAA Championships, including nine of the last 10. Maryland won its 12th national championship last year, and claimed seven straight from 1995 to 2001. Northwestern has won seven NCAA titles, highlighted by five consecutive from 2005 to 2009 and most recently in 2012. Penn State has earned five national championships, including NCAA titles in 1987 and 1989.