After an opening weekend full of upsets and close finishes, the semifinal field is set for the NCAA Division I field hockey championship. Reigning champion North Carolina joins ACC rivals Duke and Virginia among the final four teams, while 2022 runner-up Northwestern looks to avenge last year's loss with its second title run in program history.
When are the semifinals and championship rounds? How can I watch?
The semifinal round begins Friday with No. 1 North Carolina hosting Virginia at noon ET, followed by No. 2 Northwestern taking on No. 3 Duke at 3 p.m. ET. Both games will be streaming on ESPN+. The championship game begins Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and ESPNU.
Where are the final two rounds hosted?
While the opening rounds were held across four campus sites, the semifinal and championship rounds will be played at Karen Shelton Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina will be the first team to host a semifinal game since Maryland played on its home turf in 2010. The Terrapins beat the Tar Heels 3-2 in a double-overtime thriller in that championship final.
Who won the NCAA tournament last year?
No team has won more national titles than North Carolina, which claimed its 10th field hockey championship in 2022 -- overtaking Old Dominion (nine) for the most in NCAA history -- and its fourth in the past five seasons. The only other team to win in that five-year stretch is Northwestern, which beat Liberty in 2021 before falling to the Tar Heels 2-1 in last year's title game. Duke and Virginia are both seeking their first national title in program history.
What are the main storylines this year?
The stadium is named after longtime North Carolina coach Karen Shelton, who led the Tar Heels to those record-setting 10 titles. She retired after last year's title run as the sport's all-time winningest coach (745-172-9). Her replacement? Former star player Erin Matson, a five-time All-American who was the catalyst for each of her team's four titles since 2018. At 23, she's the youngest coach in Division I athletics and has led her team back to the national semifinals for the 14th time in the past 15 seasons. Fittingly, this marks the 34th time in the past 35 years with at least one semifinal team from the ACC, which has claimed 15 of the past 21 national championships. It's the first time since 2019 that three of the final four teams are from the ACC, tied for the most from one conference in tournament history. The only threat to another ACC crown is Northwestern, which is looking to become the sixth team in NCAA history and first from the Big Ten to win multiple field hockey titles. The last team to avenge a title loss from the previous season was Syracuse, which beat North Carolina in the 2015 final after a 1-0 loss to Connecticut in 2014.