BELMONT, N.C. -- Seven home games and new conference affiliation highlight the 2018 Belmont Abbey field hockey schedule, head coach Bronwen Gainsford announced today. The challenging slate also features a pair of games against teams in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), widely regarded as the top field hockey conference in the country.
The Crusaders will open the 2018-19 home schedule for the entire college on August 30 when they host Newberry in the first-ever South Atlantic Conference Carolinas Field Hockey League matchup. The teams were previously members of the ECAC Field Hockey League, but a new regional conference was formed this winter. Members include Newberry, Queens, Limestone, Converse and Coker in addition to Belmont Abbey. Neutral-site matchups against PSAC schools Slippery Rock on Sept. 8 (Richmond, Va.) and Millersville on Sept. 14 (Harrisonburg, Va.) precede a game at Lynchburg before the team plays four straight league games -- at Limestone and Queens before a home-and-home set with Converse.
"This year, we face the most challenging schedule in our program's history," Gainsford said. "We are excited to be playing Slippery Rock for the first time in our history and we look forward to the matchup against Millersville, who has made five straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Our Division III opponents are strong with Lynchburg advancing to NCAA play seven of the last 10 years and Centre earning a spot in the Elite Eight last year. Finally, we are excited to be competing in a new league against teams we face on a regular basis, so we know each will be a tough matchup."
The schedule also includes a home-and-home series with Bellarmine and non-conference games vs. Molloy and at Centre.
The inaugural South Atlantic Conference Carolinas Tournament will take place at the highest of the four seeds from Nov. 15-18.