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  The Digital Collegian - Published independently by students at Penn State
[ Friday, Nov. 19, 1999 ]

Big Ten Conference to be well-represented in field hockey's national final four

Collegian Staff Writer

Two Big Ten teams are in the hunt for the national championship this weekend at the 1999 NCAA Field Hockey Final Four on Parsons Field at Northeastern.

No. 3 Iowa — the Big Ten regular-season champion — and No. 4 Michigan — the Big Ten Tournament winner — will represent the conference in Boston, with the potential to meet in the title game.

The semifinals will take place today, with Iowa facing No. 1 Maryland at 12:30 p.m. and Michigan facing No. 2 Connecticut at 3 p.m.

Iowa (19-2, 9-1 Big Ten) and Michigan (19-6, 7-3) have met on the field three times this season, with Michigan winning two of three. The two teams last met in the Big Ten Tournament final, with Michigan pulling out the 2-1 upset victory.

"Easily, the Big Ten is excited about its participation in the NCAA Field Hockey Championships," said Andrea Williams, a sports management administrator with the conference.

"Michigan and Iowa are very strong and talented teams and we know they will continue to play throughout the Final Four."

One of four teams to host games in the first two rounds, Iowa made it to the Final Four with wins against Kent State and North Carolina. Michigan defeated Duke and upset host Wake Forest in a 3-2 double-overtime win.

For the Penn State field hockey team, it is difficult to think about the upcoming matchups after it was ousted from the NCAA Tournament in the first round. The Lady Lions saw their title dreams come to an end in Iowa City last weekend, being shut out 1-0 by North Carolina.

"I've tried to block the Final Four from my mind," Lions junior Traci Anselmo said, "but it will be interesting to see who wins it."

Connecticut made it to Boston with a perfect season, winning all 23 of its games played thus far. One of those wins came at the expense of Penn State, with the Huskies coming into Happy Valley on Sept. 17 and leaving with a 1-0 win that snapped the Lions' 25-game home-win streak at Bigler Athletic Complex.

Maryland (22-1) began the season ranked No. 1 in a preseason poll by Sports Illustrated for Women. Since an early season loss to No. 6 Old Dominion on Sept. 4, the Terrapins have been perfect, winning 20 straight games and avenging that loss with a 3-2 overtime win against the Lady Monarchs in the second round of the NCAA Championships.

This weekend, one team will be crowned national champions and three teams will see its title hopes disappear.

"Each team brings different things to the game," Lions junior Irene Kofroth said. "Each one has its own edge. It depends on who wants it the most."

Although their season ended a week ago, some of the Penn State field hockey players look with interest to this weekend's action. At least one player has a favorite.

"I'd like to see Michigan win it," Anselmo said. "But they all have the potential to be national champions."

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Updated: 1999-11-19  2:41:37   -4
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Created: 1999-11-18  23:46:08   -4