TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Oct. 28, 2017 — First of the conference tournaments

Yesterday morning, shortly after 3 p.m., a whistle blew at Phyllis Ocker Field at the University of Michigan. A plastic ball was whisked across wet blue artificial turf by a pair of teams wearing white and red.

The occurrence was the play-in game for the Big Ten Conference postseason tournament, the start of the postseason for NCAA Division I field hockey.

Start of postseason? Aren’t there a ton of games left this weekend? Well, yes, there are. But the Big Ten, as a superconference, has realized that it cannot do what it does in basketball, where the conference brings every team to one site to play down several rounds to crown one champion.

This year, the Big Ten is the only conference to play its field hockey quarterfinal round on campus sites to qualify for the semifinal and final rounds the weekend after. It’s also being done for other sports, such as soccer.

Now, I’m wondering if the other conferences that sponsor field hockey, many of whom only play off their top four finishers, will expand their postseasons in a similar fashion. I think the ACC, which will play its entire tournament bracket in four days next week, could benefit from hosting its three first-round games a week earlier on campus sites.

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