I wrote two days ago about the eclectic approach to having a Field Hockey season this spring. Little did I know how jumbled and difficult it would be. Field Hockey is primarily played in the Northeast, which was visited by a giant snowstorm over the last several days. With the season only several weeks away teams have been scrambling to find practice space. There are those who do have some sort of indoor turf facility but in almost every case it’s the wrong type of turf and they find practice times squeezed with Lacrosse, Baseball, Track and Field, and Soccer team vying for time.
In many cases clearing an outdoor field is an obstacle, as maintenance crews are busy cleaning the rest of the campus in preparation for students returning to school.
One Division One coach I talked to integrated her training schedule with clearing her field. The first hour warm up was started with handing out 25 shovels for an hour long exercise in clearing the snow covered fields. But that may be the least of the issues facing field hockey teams this spring.
The NCAA has declared that teams may not play more than 16 games in the regular season but must play at least 8 to be eligible for NCAA playoffs. That means the ACC, who did play last fall will have their schedules reduced in some cases. However, a school like Boston College could schedule games since they played a very limited number of games this fall. The difficulty is most conferences are only scheduling in conference games.
The Big Ten and Big East look to playing a full schedule by playing in conference opponents mulitple times. Other conferences, as of this writing, look to be playing a very limited schedules amongst their conference rivals. The NCAA championship final four will be played at UNC who as the conference champion of the ACC is hosting with other conference teams competing for 3 open at large slots.
The Patriot League will have an auto qualifier but in order to qualify must of have played 8 games. That works out to six regular season games and two Patriot League championship games!! There can be NO cancellations of regular season games or those two teams will not be able to qualify.
Lafayette has not published a schedule yet or explained how practices will proceed. With this past snow storm, and perhaps a snowstorm this weekend, it makes being ready for a game in one month, a coaching challenge. Hopefully, fitness can be taken care of prior to arrival. Putting together a squad without practice games and limited days of practice will be a challenge. But any activity this Covid season is a challenge!!
Additional Information On Schedules
The Patriot League will announce schedules tomorrow. Lafayette may be playing their first game against Lehigh on March 14!!