NEW YORK - Head coach Marybeth Freeman has announced the 2011 field hockey schedule. The lineup features eight games at the newly-renovated Columbia Field Hockey Venue, including three straight to close out the season, and three teams that finished in the top-20 in 2010.
"We are looking forward to a competitive, challenging and new look to our 2011 schedule," said Freeman. "We will be playing teams that we have never played against in the history of the program. Each non-Ivy League team we play will prepare us for our conference opponents, and overall I believe this schedule will push us to reach our goals and continue to raise the bar on our level of daily competiveness."
The Lions will open the season with four games on the road beginning with Drexel on Friday, September 2, followed by La Salle, Monmouth and Hofstra.
"Starting off in Philadelphia against a formable Drexel program who has garnered much success in years past, will give us good competition from the start of the season," added Freeman. "We will finish up in Philly with LaSalle whose enthusiastic coaching staff will prepare their team well for another competitive game for us."
Columbia will host Ivy League foe Brown in its home opener on Saturday, September 17 at 1 p.m. Four days later the Lions will square off against Quinnipiac under the lights at 6:30 p.m. before hitting the road for two conference games against Cornell and Princeton on September 24 and October 1, respectively. The following day the team will host Rutgers for an afternoon matchup against the Scarlet Knights at the Columbia Field Hockey Venue.
The Lions will then travel to Syracuse on October 9 to face off against the Orange who finished the 2010 season ranked fourth in the country. The following weekend will feature a pair of home games against Penn and Virginia Commonwealth, before the team travels to Dartmouth on October 22 and Lafayette on October 25 to conclude the road portion of the schedule.
Columbia will close out the 2011 season with three consecutive games at home beginning with Yale on October 28 at 6 p.m. Two days later the Lions welcome Villanova for a Sunday afternoon game before concluding the season against Harvard on Friday, November 4 at 6:30 p.m.
"We are familiar with Monmouth, Hofstra, Rutgers, Lafayette and Villanova having played them last year," said Freeman. "Each team is a strong opponent and will help identify our strengths and adjustment areas as a team. Quinnipiac is back on the schedule haven taken a short hiatus last season and seeing them during a spring season tournament, we know it will be a tough battle. We are excited to have Virginia Commonwealth on our schedule - the successes in their program have developed over the years and have made them an exceedingly tough opponent in the CAA conference. Syracuse will round off our Big East competitors, and after finishing the season ranked we know they too will give us a very competitive game."