HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College field hockey team will once again play one of the most competitive schedules around as the squad announced its 2013 schedule on Tuesday.
The Fords played four nationally-ranked teams last season on their way to ranking 19th in the final Penn Montco/National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division III National Coaches Poll. This year's schedule, offering a similar challenge, including four teams -- Rowan University, Messiah College, Franklin & Marshall College and Eastern University --that finished 2012 with a national ranking.
Haverford, a Centennial Conference finalist in 2012, opens the season at New Jersey Athletic Conference runner-up Rowan, on Aug. 31. The Fords then entertain three straight opponents at Swan Field beginning with Lebanon Valley College on Sept. 4. After Wesley College visits on Sept. 11, Haverford opens Centennial play with a contest against visiting Dickinson College on Sept. 14.
Circle Sept. 18 on the calendar as the Fords travel to Messiah for a non-conference battle. The Falcons, an NCAA tournament participant last season, finished the season ranked eighth nationally. Messiah edged Haverford, 2-1, last season at Swan Field in an entertaining affair between two nationally-ranked clubs.
After two more non-conference contests between Richard Stockton College and Misericordia University on Sept. 21 and Sept. 25, respectively, the Fords face three consecutive games against fellow conference 2012 playoff participants. Haverford heads to Gettysburg College on Sept. 28 before hosting Ursinus College on Oct. 5. The treacherous stretch ends with a trip to Lancaster, Pa., on Oct. 5 to take on defending conference champion Franklin & Marshall College at Tylus Field.
A home match-up with Johns Hopkins University on Oct. 12 kicks off five straight conference games capped by a visit from rival Swarthmore College on Oct. 26.
The final week of the regular season features the final non-conference game of the season on Oct. 31 as Eastern makes the short trip to Swan Field. The Eagles, champions of the Freedom Conference in 2012, went 16-6 last season en route to qualifying for the round of 16 in the national tournament.
The Fords close out the conference slate with a road contest against Muhlenberg College on Nov. 2.