Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cal, UC Davis, Pacific, Stanford Added As America East Associate Members in Field Hockey

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The America East Conference announced today that four institutions - University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Davis; University of the Pacific and Stanford University - have been accepted as associate members for field hockey beginning with the 2015-16 academic year. 

The four schools, which will depart the NorPac Conference following the 2014-15 academic year, will join America East’s five full members that sponsor field hockey - University at Albany, University of Maine, UMass Lowell, University of New Hampshire and University of Vermont - to form one of the best field hockey conferences in the country. In total, the nine schools have combined to make 37 NCAA tournament appearances all time.

“We are excited to add these four elite institutions as America East associate members for field hockey,” said America East Commissioner Amy Huchthausen. “This will add depth to a sport that is already one of our strongest, preserve our automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and reinforce our commitment to broad-based, competitive athletics programs and championships.”

The associate membership agreement with each institution will be for two years, the 2015 and 2016 seasons. America East will have two field hockey divisions with Albany, Maine, UMass Lowell, New Hampshire and Vermont comprising the East Division and Cal, UC-Davis, Pacific and Stanford making up the West Division. The America East Field Hockey Championships will consist of eight teams for the next two seasons, four teams from each division, with the 2015 tournament taking place on the east coast and the 2016 championship being played on the west coast. The America East champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Field Hockey Championship.

“As coaches, we want our conference to be as strong and as competitive as possible,” said Maine head coach and America East coaches chair Josette Babineau. “The addition of these four programs will allow our conference to be even more competitive nationally and compete with the other large conferences and result in more of our programs having success in the NCAA tournament.”

Cal, UC Davis, Pacific and Stanford join a league that has established itself among the top field hockey leagues in the country. Five different schools have been ranked nationally while competing in America East since 2012, including Albany, which is currently ranked 11th in the nation and peaked at No. 7 this season. Maine is also ranked having entered the poll at No. 20 this week. Among the west schools, Stanford is nationally ranked, climbing to No. 3 in this week’s poll.

Fairfield University, which has been an America East associate member in field hockey since 2007, begins play in the MAAC starting next season

Founded in 1979, the America East Conference consists of nine member institutions: University at Albany, Binghamton University, University of Hartford, University of Maine, UMBC, UMass Lowell, University of New Hampshire, Stony Brook University and University of Vermont. The conference sponsors championships in 18 sports, including field hockey, and provides its member schools and their athletic programs a platform upon which student-athletes can achieve both collegiate and life success through the promotion and nurturing of athletic excellence, academic achievement and leadership, on and off the field

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