Head Coach Jodi Murphy has announced the 2016 field hockey schedule, which features game against six of the top seven teams in the country from last season.
2016 field hockey schedule
Contests against six of the top seven teams in last year's final NFHCA poll highlight the Liberty field hockey team's first season in the BIG EAST Conference in 2016.
Liberty finished the 2015 season with a 12-6 record and was ranked No. 14 in the final NFHCA national poll. The Lady Flames faced eight nationally-ranked teams last year, picking up wins over No. 13 Delaware and No. 15 Old Dominion during its independent season.
Liberty, along with Quinnipiac, will join the BIG EAST as affiliate members, giving the Lady Flames a chance to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Field Hockey Championship once again in November.
Following a road scrimmage at Appalachian State (Aug. 15) and a home exhibition against William & Mary (Aug. 19), the first five games of the season will take place on the road.
Liberty opens the year at James Madison on Aug. 26, who finished last season ranked No. 18 in the country. The Lady Flames will close out competition in August by traveling to Durham, N.C., to face No. 6 Duke on Aug. 28.
Liberty will begin play in September with a neutral-site game in Long Island, N.Y., against Syracuse on Sept. 3. The Orange, ranked No. 2 in the final NFHCA poll, claimed the 2015 national championship, the first in program history. Liberty will then next travel to Charlottesville, Va., to face No. 4 Virginia on Sept. 12.
The Lady Flames will begin a new chapter in the short history of the program, when Liberty travels Villanova, Pa., to face Villanova in its first-ever BIG EAST game on Sept. 16.
Liberty will open up its six-game home slate on Sept. 20 when the Lady Flames welcome Longwood, followed by a home game against fellow BIG EAST affiliate member Quinnipiac on Sept. 23.
The Lady Flames will play their next three contests on the road, facing William & Mary on Sept. 25, a BIG EAST road game at Old Dominion on Sept. 30 and at American on Oct. 6.
Liberty will host conference foe Georgetown on Oct. 8, before traveling to Storrs, Conn., to face No. 3 and defending BIG EAST champion Connecticut on Oct. 15. The team will play its final regular-season road game at Providence on Oct. 21 in the conference matchup.
The Lady Flames will close out their regular season with three home games, starting on Oct. 23 when Liberty hosts No. 1 and national championship runner-up North Carolina.
Liberty will play its final BIG EAST game of 2016 on Oct. 28 when it hosts Temple, followed by the regular season finale against No. 7 Wake Forest on Oct. 30.
The BIG EAST Conference championship will be hosted by Temple in Philadelphia, Pa., on Nov. 4-6. The winner of the conference championship will earn the BIG EAST's automatic bid to the NCAA Field Hockey Championship.
The Lady Flames, who started their program in 2011, will look to make their third appearance in the NCAA Field Hockey Championship. After winning NorPac Championship titles in 2013 and 2014, Liberty advanced to the NCAA Championship and picked up a win over Richmond in the first round in 2014.