STOCKTON, Calif. - The Pacific Tigers field hockey team begins the season on Sunday with an exhibition game against the Olympic Club at 11:00 am before the regular season commences.
Last season, the Tigers had their winningest season in school history going 16-5 and averaging 4.38 goals per game, the second highest in the nation. The 2016-2017 season was also the Tigers highest scoring year in school history. The Black and Orange won the America East West Division for the second year in a row and set numerous team and individual records. The Tigers set records for both games won in a single season as well as fewest games lost in a single season this year. The team also scored 92 goals, blowing past the previous record of 55, set in 2006. Pacific's 93 assists, 4.38 goals per game, and 277 total points were all program records as well.
The Tigers will play just six home games this season against Michigan State, #2 Syracuse, Harvard, California, #11 Stanford and UC Davis along with an eight-game road trip visiting #3 Connecticut, UMass-Lowell, Sacred Heart, Stanford, California, and William & Mary including two games in Charlottesville, Virginia taking on #9 Boston College and #8 Virginia.
Pacific graduated six seniors, while also returning multiple award winning players. Five returning players were honored by the America East, with Kriekie van Wyk, Savannah Burns, Axelle Steffen, Alicia Muiños, and Ash Rutherford all taking home some hardware.
Van Wyk was named to the All-Conference team, All-Rookie team, and was also the conference's Offensive Player of the Year after the second-highest scoring season in Pacific history. Van Wyk had 22 goals, second-most in a single season, and 13 assists for 57 total points. Those 13 assists are tied for the second-most in a single season for Pacific.
Burns also came away with multiple awards, earning nods to the All-Academic team and All-Conference team. Burns set a career-high in points with 14 goals and 13 assists and is now second all-time in career points for Pacific with 73.
Steffen and Muiños earned All-Conference nods as well. Muiños more than doubled her previous career best with 12 goals and 28 points this year. Steffen outscored her previous two years at Pacific this year alone, scoring four goals and putting up ten total points.
Rutherford took home a place on the All-Rookie team as she set the Pacific record for assists in a single season with 14. Rutherford had six goals as well this year, scoring three goals and adding two assists in the final five games of the season.
The team also welcomes eight newcomers as Claire Hill, Brittany Logan, Gaby de Kock, Lindsie Rogers, Gabriella Fondario, Nthabi Maine, Karlijn Roijakkers and Marlise van Tonder will don the Black and Orange this season for the first time.
The first to meet the back-to-back West Division champions are the Michigan State Spartans who will be visiting the Pacific Field Hockey Turf on Friday, August 25th at 12:00 pm followed by a Sunday matchup with #2 Syracuse also starting at 12:00 pm.
Make sure to follow Pacific field hockey on Twitter with the username @PacificTigersFH and on Instagram at pacifictigersfh.