Coach Agard and the Hawks look to start dominating in the PSAC West on Labor Day Weekend.

Calendar marking for the weekends of the IUP campus and community have begun as the action-packed field hockey team has returned to Miller Stadium.

As there was not a fall 2020 season, the anticipation for the team’s return has been a long wait. Fans are buzzing and the big weekend for the Hawks will start Sept. 3 and continue to Sept. 5.

The Crimson Hawks will start out their season on Labor Day weekend with the IUP/Hilton Garden Inn tournament. The team will play against Newberry on Sept. 3 at Miller Stadium and then IUP will face Lindenwood on Sept. 5 at 11 a.m.

“All the freshmen and sophomores have prepared themselves; younger players have paid more attention and are ready for the first tournament,” Coach Gary Agard said.

Looking across the map and the entire schedule for the Hawks, there will lie some strong competition. After the Labor Day tournament, the Hawks will face teams like Seton Hill, Slippery Rock, Mercyhurst and Millersville. Two out of the four games will be on the road for the Hawks.

All the teams throughout the entire schedule for the Hawks will be playoff caliber teams. The last couple of seasons brought a difficult schedule for the Hawks. That means the field hockey team will have to bring its best plays in the arena.

“The schedule is no different, and they are playoff caliber teams, no difference and more competition,”Agard said.

With some of the tougher teams like West Chester and East Stroudsburg, IUP will need production from everybody on the roster, especially the freshman. It takes a full team to win games, and the younger talent on the team must be ready to act.

“All the new players bring enthusiasm and pay attention to details and are eager to get to the field and play well. The combo of upperclassmen will enhance the underclassmen’s play,” Agard said.

The biggest advantage that the underclassmen gained was this past spring season of 2021. Without a fall season for them to experience, the scrimmages of the spring season were something to gear the Hawks up for fall action. The Crimson Hawks look to dig deep record-wise since they had a record of .500 finishing with a 9-9 record.

“The time off prepared the freshman to get ready for college field hockey,” Agard said. “They were exposed to quality competitiveness.

“Spring was a big indicator of where they stand.”

The Crimson Hawks look to be on top of the standings this season and even plan to be the top team if possible.

“We are going to win the chip this year,” Agard said. “I am really confident and think we can go far this season.”

Strong words from Agard as he visions the Hawks winning the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West championship. With a high experience roster of juniors and seniors, the Hawks may be able to keep their word.

It will come down to the goals scored and goals allowed. Going back to the 2019 season, IUP had five shutout wins and has gotten shut out eight times without putting any goals on the board. The Hawks have the capability of putting goals up, but the defense will play a key role in the plan for winning PSAC West.

The Crimson Hawks hope to be at top of the PSAC West by the end of the season, and it starts on Labor Day weekend.

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