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Big Ten field hockey preview

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | SEPTEMBER 18, 2014 5:00 AM

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With nonconference field hockey over, Big Ten play is about to kick off this weekend.

The Big Ten has two new members this year, Maryland and Rutgers. How do they stack up against the rest of the conference as of right now? Let’s take a look.

No. 17 Indiana:
Current record: 5-0
2013: 6th in Big ten (1-5)

The Hoosiers are off to a hot start in 2014 despite a disappointing performance last season. The Hoosiers’ only win in conference play came against Ohio State, a 5-4 overtime thriller.

No. 2 Maryland:
Current record: 5-1
2013: 1st in ACC (6-0)

The Terrapins should have no trouble adjusting to life in the Big Ten. One of the most dominant programs in the country last year, Maryland went 6-0 in conference play, 18-1 on the season. They were the top-ranked team for much of 2013.

Rutgers:
Current record: 4-2
2013: 2-5 in Big East

Rutgers has struggled as a program the past few years, finishing with a sub-.500 record four out of the last five seasons. It showed signs of growth last year, going 9-9. Head coach Meredith Long is in her third season guiding the team, which will try to stay afloat in a tough Big Ten.

No. 6 Penn State:
Current record: 5-1
2013: 2nd in Big Ten (5-1)

The Nittany Lions shared the Big Ten crown last year with Northwestern, with their only conference defeat coming at the hands of Michigan during the last game of the regular season. Iowa upset the Nittany Lions in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament in 2013, 4-3.

No. 9 Iowa:
Current Record: 4-2
2013: 5th in Big Ten (2-4)

The Black and Gold had an up and down season last year before going on a Cinderella run to the Big Ten championship, in which Michigan State defeated them. They return all three leading scorers in 2014, including 2013 Big Ten points leader Natalie Cafone.

No. 18 Michigan:
Current record: 4-2
2013: 3rd in Big Ten (4-2)

Michigan will have to adjust to life without last year’s leading scorer, Rachel Mack, in 2014. Mack led the Wolverines with 21 goals and 6 assists last season before graduating. Replacing her offense could prove a tough task in 2014.

No. 16 Michigan State: Current Record: 4-2
2013: 4th in Big Ten (4-2)

Michigan State finished fourth in the conference last year before catching fire and winning the 2013 Big Ten Tournament. They went on to defeat Miami of Ohio and Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament before falling to No. 4 Connecticut.

No. 15 Northwestern: Current Record: 4-3
2013: 1st in Big Ten (5-1)

2013 saw the Wildcats take a share of the Big Ten regular-season title crown, splitting honors with Michigan State. Much like Iowa, Northwestern recorded a few wins against top-ranked opponents in 2013 including No. 15 Northeastern and No. 9 Duke.

Ohio State:
Current record: 2-3
2013: 7th in Big Ten (0-6)

The Buckeyes failed to register a single win against a Big Ten opponent in the regular season before upsetting Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament. The 2013 squad won just six games all season.


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