PROVIDENCE, R.I. -Two BIG EAST field hockey teams, Syracuse and Connecticut, were selected to participate in the 16-team 2011 NCAA Championship. Both schools were ranked as one of the top-four seeds and the Huskies will serve as a host site for first and second round games.
Syracuse (18-3, 5-1 BIG EAST) won its second straight BIG EAST Championship, and third in the last four years, to earn the league's automatic berth into the tournament. The Orange enter the NCAA tournament as the No. 3 seed and will play Richmond (16-6) in a first-round matchup on Nov. 12 in College Park, Md. SU is paced offensively by junior Kelsey Millman, who leads the league with 49 points and 18 goals. Syracuse is advancing to the NCAA Championship for the fourth straight year and is looking to get back to the semifinals for the first time since 2008.
Connecticut (17-2, 6-0 BIG EAST), the league's regular-season champion, will host Princeton (10-7) in the first round of the NCAA Championship on Nov. 12. UConn was dubbed the No. 4 seed and is making its ninth straight appearance in the national tournament. The Huskies and the Tigers will be meeting for the second time this season after Connecticut beat Princeton 3-1 on Oct. 16. UConn is led by a strong defensive core, including 2011 Defensive Player of the Year Jestine Angelini and 2010 Goalkeeper of the Year Sarah Mansfield. The Huskies lead the league in goals against average, with 1.04. Connecticut is ranked No. 4 in the NFHCA Coaches' Poll.
First and second-round matches will be played at campus sites Nov. 12 and 13. The 31st annual NCAA Field Hockey Championship will take place Nov. 18 and 20 at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky.
The BIG EAST has claimed two national titles, both by Connecticut, in 1981 and 1985.