NEWARK, Del. – The University of Delaware field hockey team looks to defend its National Championship crown, but it will be no easy task as the Blue Hens announced their 2017 schedule Thursday.

This year's slate includes nine home games to be held at Fred P. Rullo Stadium and features four matchups against squads that ended their season ranked in the NFHCA Coaches Poll.

Delaware, which returns seven starters from last year's national championship squad that went 23-2 overall, opens its season with a trip to Louisville for matchups against Indiana (Aug. 26) and the Cardinals (Aug. 27), a rematch of last season's NCAA Tournament first round game in which the Blue Hens defeated UL, 1-0. 

The team kicks off home action on Sept. 1 against Dartmouth, followed by a match against Princeton on Sept. 3. The Blue Hens defeated the Tigers, 3-2, to advance to the NCAA Championship game. 

The Hens go on the road for a three-game road stand at Penn (Sept. 8) and at Liberty (Sept. 10) before taking on Penn State (Sept. 18) at the home of USA Field Hockey, The Nook in Manheim, Pa.

Delaware returns to Fred P. Rullo Stadium to face Albany (Sept. 22) and NCAA Tournament Final Four participant, Connecticut (Sept. 24) before taking on its first CAA competition of the year with a matchup at Drexel.

Home play continues on Oct. 1 versus Lafayette and another CAA matchup vs. James Madison (Oct. 8) before another quick two-game road trip at Saint Joseph's (Oct. 14) and Columbia (Oct. 15).

The Blue Hens finish the regular season with four straight conference matchups. The Hens host William & Mary (Oct. 20) and Towson (Oct. 22) before traveling to Hofstra (Oct. 27) and Northeastern (Oct. 29).

The Colonial Athletic Association Tournament semifinals will be played on Nov. 3 with the final occurring on Nov. 5, hosted by the league's regular season champion. NCAA Tournament first and second rounds will be played Nov. 10-12 at host schools with the NCAA Final Four starting Nov. 17 and the Championship match set for Nov. 19 at Louisville.

Article written by Grant Roberts, Athletics Communications Student Intern

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