MAAC to Add Field Hockey
Edison, N.J. – The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference will add field hockey as an associate sport sponsored by the conference, with league play beginning in the 2013-14 academic year.
"We are happy and excited that the MAAC will be sponsoring field hockey, beginning next fall," said head coach Lori Hussong who has led Rider to the NEC playoffs in all 13 of her seasons at Rider. "Our student-athletes are looking foward to competing under our true conference flagship. We are grateful for the Northeast Conference for supporting our program and giving us a home for so many years and look forward to the new challenges that MAAC competition will provide."
“The MAAC is excited about sponsoring field hockey as an associate league sport as membership expansion provides added branding opportunities for the conference,” notes Richard J. Ensor, Commissioner of the MAAC. “As the MAAC athletic administrators reviewed the needs of the member institutions, it became apparent that having a core of five schools sponsoring the sport made the addition of field hockey to the MAAC Strategic Plan an obvious next step for the conference to meet the expectations of the student-athletes for a consistent championship experience.”
Four member institutions – Monmouth University, Quinnipiac University, Rider University and Siena College – will begin play this fall, while Fairfield University will join the league starting in the 2015-16 academic year, becoming the 25th sport within the conference. The MAAC will look to invite schools that sponsor field hockey within the region to join as associate members for the 2013 season.
“The addition of field hockey as a sport in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference is a great opportunity, not only for the conference, but the schools involved,” said Karin Torchia, Associate Director of Athletics for External Operations and Development and Senior Woman Administrator at Rider University and member of the NCAA Division I Field Hockey Committee. “With the ever-changing conference landscape, this addition provides stability and preserves existing rivalries that have been fostered in other leagues as well as providing NCAA automatic qualifier and play-in opportunities for the student-athletes now participating in MAAC field hockey.”
The membership plan is to provide eight teams for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and nine teams when Fairfield commences league play in the 2015-16 academic year.
Rider was 95-27 in 15 seasons in the Northeast Conference with seven regular season titles, 11 championship game appearances and six tournament titles with all six resulting in NCAA Play-In game appearances.
Rider lost the NCAA Play-In at UMass 2-1 in overtime in 2012, lost at Princeton 1-0 in double overtime in 2011 and were defeated at UAlbany 2-1 in 2010.
Under Hussong, Rider was 87-19 in NEC play with an overall record of 184-77 in the last 13 seasons.
The MAAC has added various sports throughout the years in an effort to develop opportunities for student-athletes. In June of 1995, the conference announced the formation of the MAAC Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse leagues, with the men beginning competition in the spring of 1996 while the women commenced in the spring of 1997. The MAAC added women’s water polo in 2002, with competition currently between three MAAC schools – Iona College, Marist College and Siena – as well as four associate members: Saint Francis (N.Y.) College, Villanova University, the Virginia Military Institute and Wagner College. The MAAC also has associate members in women’s rowing (Drake University, Jacksonville University, Robert Morris University and Sacred Heart University), women’s golf (University at Albany, Boston University, Butler University and the University of Hartford) and men’s swimming & diving (Bryant University).