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NCAA Division II/III Field Hockey Season Preview

The Division II and Division III seasons officially started September 1st.  Division II is composed of 35 schools across 11 states, while Division III has 116 member schools representing 18 states.  The defending National Champion in each Division took start the season ranked No. 1 in each of their preseason polls. 

Due to the smaller pool of schools the Penn Monto/NFHCA represents the top 10 programs.   Six of the top ten teams represent the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), including the top three ranked teams.

East Stroudsburg went 19-3 last season and earned the 2015 DII National Championship trophy. After the opening weekend they Warriors are 2-0 in the 2016 season as they beat No. 4 and No. 5 ranked teams.  They travel to Bloomsburg, PA today to play No. 8 Bloomsburg University at 4:00 pm.

Last years runner up, Merrimack, is ranked No. 4.  The 2015 National Championship was an overtime thriller and the first and second place teams opened up the 2016 season with a rematch. East Stroudsburg won this face-off 4-2, but it will not be a surprise if these two teams meet up again in post-season. 

No. 8 Bloomsburg opened their season with a win over No. 7 Adelphi which was followed up by a surprising loss to unranked Pace.  Other notable wins were No. 5 Stonehill’s upset of No. 2 Millersiville and No. 3 West Chester 5-4 victory over No. 10 Limestone. 

Division III’s No. 1 ranked team and defending National Champion is Middlebury College, and the 2015 runner-up, Bowdoin College, and fellow New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) member takes the No. 2 rank. These two will meet on September 24th, and will likely meet again in conference play-offs – it also would not be surprising if these two hashed it for a National Championship, once again. 

The No. 3 and No. 4 ranked teams are The College of New Jersey and Ursinus, respectively.  The top 4 ranked teams for the 2016 season were the four teams that were fighting in the Final Four weekend last November.

Ursinus College opened their season with two impressive wins over No. 17 Rowan and No. 6 William Smith. 

Rowan also fell to No. 5 Franklin and Marshall in a double overtime nail-bitter for a rough start to the 2016 season.  No. 16, Babson, stunned No. 11, Skidmore College, 5-0 on Saturday and No. 18, University of Rochester, upset No. 12, Mary Washington 2-1. 

For full Division I, II, and III Penn Monto/NFHCA Polls visit http://www.nfhca.org/

Picture of the Week

Middlebury College – the 2015 DIII National Champions!

22 NOV 2015: Middlebury College celebrates a victory over Bowdoin College during the Division III Women’s Field Hockey Championship held at turf field on the Washington and Lee University campus in Lexington, VA. Middlebury defeated Bowdoin 1-0 for the national title. Pete Emerson/NCAA Photos