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The 11 best NCAA field hockey games to watch this weekend

This upcoming weekend in field hockey will feature a top five non-conference matchup that is sure to attract a lot of attention. But as the field hockey world will be fixated on this showdown, most teams are shifting from the non-conference portion of their schedules and jumping into conference play head first. Here are the 11 best field hockey matches to watch this weekend.

Friday, September 22nd

No. 3 Penn State vs. No. 14 Northwestern: The Nittany Lions started Big Ten play with a 3-0 win over No. 19 Iowa last weekend, but were handed their first loss of the season against the defending national champion Delaware. Penn State was shut out by No. 5 Delaware 2-0, causing the Nittany Lions to fall from No. 2 in the polls. Penn State (7-1) will look to get back to its winning ways on Friday when it hosts Northwestern, who enters Friday’s match on a four-game winning streak. Last weekend, the Wildcats (6-3) opened up their conference schedule with a 3-2 overtime win against Ohio State. To top that, Northwestern toppled No. 15 Louisville 2-0 in a non-conference battle. The Wildcats will be looking to extend their win streak to five games when it travels on the road to Penn State. This is the first of two games this weekend for both clubs. After facing Penn State, the Wildcats will travel to Maryland and face the Terrapins on Sunday. Meanwhile, Penn State will host Michigan in a top 10 battle on Sunday as well.

No. 4 Virginia vs. No. 8 Boston College: The high-powered ACC will feature a pair of top 10 matchups this weekend. The first of which comes on Friday in Charlottesville, where the Cavaliers will host the Eagles. Virginia (7-1) moved up from No. 5 in the polls after a pair of convincing wins at home over in-state rivals William & Mary (7-2), ranked No. 18 in the country, and Richmond (7-0) last weekend. Riding a six-game win streak, the Cavaliers will look to slow down a good Boston College team that moved up from No. 10 this week. After dropping a 2-1 loss in overtime at North Carolina last week, the Eagles (6-2) followed it up with a strong 3-0 win over the aforementioned William & Mary. While UVA will be looking to improve to 2-0 in conference, Boston College is still looking for its first ACC win on the season after starting 0-2.

No. 5 Delaware vs. No. 20 Albany: With two games remaining before starting conference play, the defending national champion Blue Hens (6-1) get to face a pair of ranked teams this weekend. First, Delaware takes on Albany on Friday. The Blue Hens moved up from No. 6 in the polls after upsetting Penn State in its lone match last weekend. Delaware will be looking to continue its strong play against non-conference opponents when it faces top-ranked UConn on Sunday. But before the Huskies come to town, Delaware must handle the Great Danes (3-3) first. Albany moved up from No. 21 this week after shutting out New Hampshire 4-0 at home, but will now be tasked with snapping Delaware’s five-game win streak. It won’t get easier this weekend for the Great Danes, as they will travel back home and host North Carolina on Sunday.

No. 10 Maryland vs. No. 19 Iowa: Another high-profile Big Ten clash to watch this weekend is the Terrapins playing host to the Hawkeyes on Friday. Last weekend, Maryland (5-2) kicked off its conference schedule with a 3-1 victory over Indiana on the road. The Terrapins followed it up with a 4-1 win against Bucknell before losing 2-1 at home against Princeton this past Tuesday, dropping Maryland to No. 10 in the polls this week. Iowa (4-5) did not start Big Ten play on strong footing, as it lost 3-0 at Penn State last Friday. The Hawkeyes bounced back to avoid a further slide down the polls by defeating Penn 3-2 on Sunday in Philadelphia. This game will be the first of two conference matchups for both teams this weekend. While Maryland will host Northwestern on Sunday, Iowa will travel up to New Jersey and face Rutgers.

No. 11 Wake Forest vs. No. 15 Louisville: The second ACC clash of the day takes place in Louisville where the Cardinals (4-4) will host the Demon Deacons (4-3). Currently on a three-game losing streak, Louisville is struggling after losing its first conference game of the season last week at Duke by a score of 5-0. The Cardinals followed that up with a 2-0 non-conference loss on the road against Northwestern. As a result of its losing streak, Louisville dropped to No. 15 in the polls. Looking to get back to its winning ways and win its first ACC game of the season, the Cardinals will host a red-hot Demon Deacons team. Wake Forest moved up from No. 16 this week after upsetting Syracuse on the road 2-1 in overtime last weekend to extend its current win streak to three games. Wake Forest will now be looking to go to 3-0 in the ACC this season After Friday’s game, both will take the field again in Louisville on Sunday. The Cardinals will host James Madison, while Wake Forest will go up against Miami (Ohio).

[More from Excelle Sports: How UNC’s Ashley Hoffman is playing out a USA Field Hockey legacy]

Saturday, September 23rd

No. 6 Syracuse vs. No. 7 North Carolina: The second of two top ten matchups in the ACC this weekend takes place on Saturday when the Tar Heels (7-2) travel to New York to take on the Orange (8-1). After dropping its first ACC game this season, North Carolina bounced back last week and got its first conference win with a 2-1 overtime victory at home over Boston College. After dominating James Madison (3-0) and Davidson (10-0) this past week at home, the Tar Heels are now on a four-game win streak. After opening its ACC schedule on a high note, Syracuse lost its first game of the season last weekend when it lost 2-1 in overtime against conference foe Wake Forest. The Orange bounced back with a 4-0 win over Rutgers last Sunday, but their loss dropped Syracuse from No. 3 in the polls. While this is Syracuse’s lone game this weekend, the Tar Heels will travel east to Albany and take on the Great Danes on Sunday.

Sunday, September 24th

No. 19 Iowa vs. No. 23 Rutgers: After facing Maryland on Friday, Iowa will travel north to take on the Scarlet Knights (5-3) on Sunday. Rutgers moved up from No. 23 this week in the polls after defeating Cornell 2-1 last week on the road. However, the Scarlet Knights followed that win up with a 4-0 loss at Syracuse last Sunday. Before hosting the Hawkeyes on Sunday, Rutgers will open Big Ten play at home on Friday against the Indiana Hoosiers.

No. 1 UConn vs. No. 5 Delaware: After hosting Albany on Friday, the Blue Hens are in for a second match in as many weekends against a top five team when the top-ranked Huskies (7-0) come to town on Sunday. Sitting at the top spot in the polls for a second straight week, UConn is the lone unbeaten ranked team left in college field hockey. Last weekend, the Huskies won a pair of games at home over Old Dominion (6-0) and BU (8-1) in dominant fashion to continue its undefeated start to the season. Before traveling to Delaware to face the Blue Hens, UConn will first head to Philadelphia and face the Temple Owls on Friday.

No. 17 Princeton vs. No. 24 Boston University: In a non-conference battle this Sunday, the Tigers (2-4) will travel to Boston to take on the Terriers (4-3). Princeton enters the match coming off a huge 2-1 non-conference win on the road over Maryland this week, but dropped a close 2-1 game at No. 2 Duke last weekend. As a result of its loss to Duke, Princeton fell from No. 15 in the polls this week. After starting the season 4-0, the Terriers have now lost three in a row entering Sunday’s game. BU fell from No. 20 in the polls this week after its most recent loss, an 8-1 blowout at UConn last weekend. Both teams will have matches earlier in the weekend before facing off on Sunday. While Princeton will open its Ivy League schedule at Dartmouth on Saturday, the Terriers will open its Patriot League schedule at home against Lafayette on Saturday.

No. 13 James Madison vs. No. 15 Louisville: After playing host to the Demon Deacons on Friday, the Cardinals will welcome in the Dukes of James Madison (5-2) on Sunday. In its lone game last weekend, the Dukes were shut out 3-0 by UNC on the road. Before facing the Cardinals on Sunday, James Madison will look to snap its two-game losing streak when it faces Ball State in Louisville on Friday.

No. 3 Penn State vs. No. 9 Michigan: After hosting Northwestern on Friday, the Nittany Lions will host the Wolverines (5-2) on Sunday. In its lone game last weekend, the Wolverines opened up conference play with an easy 6-0 win over in-state rival Michigan State at home. Before arriving to Happy Valley on Sunday to face Penn State in a top 10 Big Ten clash, the Wolverines will travel to Columbus on Friday and face the Ohio State Buckeyes.

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