The Northeastern field hockey team begins 2014 play on Friday with an exhibition match game at Albany. The regular season begins a week later. Here are five things you should know about the Huskies before the season kicks off:
• Before we get to this year, here’s a quick look back at last season. The Huskies finished fifth in the Colonial Athletic Association in the 2013 campaign, going 8-13 overall and 3-3 in conference play. The Huskies advanced to the championship game of the conference tournament for the third straight season, but fell to the University of Delaware.
• The Huskies were picked to finish third this season in the CAA following a preseason vote by the conference’s head coaches last week. Northeastern collected 28 points overall, including one first-place vote.
• Midfielders Jessica Unger and Natalie Stewart were named to the preseason All-CAA team, while sophomore goalkeeper Becky Garner received an honorable mention, the conference announced last week. Unger, one of five sophomores named to the team, is coming off a season where she dominated defensively and helped sure up the Huskies’ backend. She was one of only eight CAA players with more than one defensive save last season. Stewart, a member of the 2013 All-CAA First team, emerged as an offensive threat last season, scoring four goals and assisting on four others. Her four assists were a team-high and she was named to the NFHCA All-Northeast Region Second Team. Garner, for her part, was one of only two goalkeepers to receive the distinction. She was second in the CAA with 111 saves in 2013, and boasted a goals-against average of just 2.18 over a 20-game span.
• Northeastern kicks off the regular season with the Conference Cup at the Nook in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Huskies will face Temple on Aug. 29 and then play the University of Maryland—a 2013 national semifinalist and eight-time national champion—on Aug. 31. The Huskies’ home opener is set for Sept. 5, when Northeastern welcomes Providence to Dedham Field.
• The Huskies will host nine games on Dedham Field and take on five teams from last season’s NCAA tournament field in 2014. Their 18-game schedule also features six conference contests as Northeastern looks to return to the national tournament for the third time in four seasons.