DURHAM – The 2021 Duke field hockey season officially kicked off Wednesday morning with the first practice of the 10-day preseason period. The Blue Devils campaign opens at home on August 27 against Rutgers at 6 p.m.
Duke is back
It’s hard to believe it’s only 116 days since Duke last played at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium to close out the 2020-21 season. And in 16 days, it will be the first time since October 27, 2019 that the Blue Devils have played in front of fans on their home turf.
“It’s extremely exciting to be back on the pitch,” said the head coach Pam bustin. “Even though we were only here in the spring, I feel like it’s been a long time. They’ve clearly come back ready and eager to start this season and it’s really exciting.”
Duke announced the return to full capacity of its sports venues in early June. Fans should keep abreast of COVID-19 regulations in Duke and Durham by visiting GoDuke.com before attending the game.
A glance at the 2021 list
The Blue Devils have one of their biggest rosters in recent seasons with 27 players, including five graduate students and five seniors. Three players have returned for a fifth season – Lexi davidson, Eva nunnik and Lily posternak, while Duke hosted two transfers of Princeton graduate students in Grace Brightbill and Marykate neff.
“I think [a big focus during preseason is] bring them together and get the connectivity and find their rhythm as a team, “said Bustin.” We have a great group right now, so we’re making sure that each of them can play with the other and just have some sort of vibe of who we are as a team right now. “
Among the 27 players are seven freshmen, the largest group of rookies since 2014.
Return to the packages initially programmed
The 2021 field hockey season returns to its traditional fall schedule with the CCA Championship the first week of November and the National Championship taking place the last weekend of the same month.
âIt’s just refreshing and really exciting to know it’s back to our regular season schedule,â said Bustin. âI love fall. I love that it’s the pace. I love knowing that our championship is later in November and so we can plan that way. And that’s what [the players] I also like. They love this challenge. “
Duke will play 16 regular season games in just over two months. Eight of the Blue Devils’ opponents contested the 2019 NCAA Championship – the last time there was a full 16-team squad. In addition to the five ACC programs that made the ground for the 2019 NCAA tournament, Duke will host Maryland and Northwestern and travel to Princeton.
The Blue Devils are hosting eight games at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium, including the Big Ten / ACC Cup with Boston College, Northwestern and Maryland.
Crouse to play for American field hockey
Senior Lea Crouse will wear red, white and blue for the United States team at the end of August when they travel to Santiago, Chile for the Pan American Junior Championship (JPAC). Crouse is one of 18 players selected for the list announced at the end of July.
Crouse and the United States will face Trinidad & Tobago and Chile in pools, with the top three from six nations qualifying for the 2021 FIH World Cup of Junior Hockey in December.