ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The 2016 Big Ten women's lacrosse season gets underway on Sunday, with Michigan hosting Central Michigan and Northwestern traveling to nationally ranked Duke.
Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers will begin their seasons on Feb. 13. Maryland, the inaugural Big Ten Champion and two-time defending national champion, will host William & Mary, while Ohio State will take on visiting Detroit. Penn State will travel to Lehigh, while Rutgers will open its season at Villanova.
Four Big Ten women's lacrosse teams are ranked among the top 20 of the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) preseason poll. Maryland led the way by receiving all 20 first-place votes and a No. 1 preseason ranking. Northwestern is ranked No. 5, followed by No. 6 Penn State and No. 18 Ohio State.
The 2016 Big Ten Women's Lacrosse Tournament will be hosted by Northwestern from May 5-8. 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.
Big Ten women's lacrosse features teams that have won 25 national championships and 21 of the 34 NCAA Championships, including 10 of the last 11. Maryland won its 13th 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.