ODU Field Hockey Reigns Through 2021 Season

The Old Dominion University field hockey team has brought in nine NCAA Championships, 31 NCAA tournament appearances, 32 conference championships, and 52 All-Americans that have played throughout the years. Among the coaches in the Big East Conference, the Monarchs were picked to finish third in the Big East preseason coaches poll. After finishing the season 9-5 in 2020, they were ranked 16th in the nation. ODU lost in the conference final against UCONN for the second consecutive season, but they used this as motivation to regroup for the new season. Although ODU is returning most of their players, it is still somewhat of a new roster. Though this is a young bunch, the task of winning championships has remained the same. 


Before the season, Head Coach Andrew Griffiths expressed how he thinks this could be the year that they take the next leap. “We’ve been pushing the boundary and just haven’t gotten through the last couple of years and I feel like it’s coming,” said Head Coach Andrew Griffiths. “We’re really young, we’re probably going to start five freshmen. But there’s a lot of talent, a lot of good young players. This is an exciting time for the team and the program.”


To begin the season, the Monarchs started with a home matchup against 17th ranked Delaware. They dropped the season opening match 4-0. In the next game, ODU welcomed American University into town. The game went into overtime, where the Monarchs found the back of the cage winning 3-2. Then, they went on the road to face 24th ranked James Madison. The matchup went back and forth, but a late goal in the fourth period lifted ODU to victory. After back-to-back victories, the Monarchs returned home and defeated Longwood 2-1. ODU went back on the road and shutout VCU 3-0. The winning streak was up to four games, but the next match was going to be a true test for ODU. They went on the road to face 16th ranked UCONN, who has been a powerhouse in the Big East for a long time. The Lady Monarchs were not able to compete with the Huskies and were shutout 2-0, which ended the four game winning streak. 


After dropping the match against UCONN, the Monarchs bounced back. Because they were on a winning streak like they had as the season opened, it went up to five games. They defeated Quinnipiac at home 7-0 before going on the road and knocking off the 11th ranked Virginia Cavaliers in Charlottesville 2-1. Then, they went on and won on the road against Villanova by a score of 3-2. ODU returned home for their next two matches and defeated Richmond in a high scoring competitive game 4-3. The Monarchs defeated Georgetown late in the week 2-0, which extended the winning streak to five. Another tough road test laid ahead, as the Monarchs had to travel down to Durham, N.C. to play the 22nd ranked Duke Blue Devils. ODU was not able to keep up with Duke and lost the contest 5-1.


In their next matchup, they went on the road to play Providence and won 2-1. ODU met Virginia again at home, falling behind early and coming back in the second half. Two goals were placed to defeat the Cavaliers 2-1. With only three games left in the season, the Monarchs’ next two games were at home, winning both matchups. They defeated Temple 2-0 and fell behind against William & Mary early on. In the second half, they went on to win over the Tribe 2-1. The regular season finale was another tough road test against the 8th ranked Liberty Flames. In the first half, they gave up two goals that made them fall to Liberty 2-1.

Elena Harris

Old Dominion finished the regular season with a 13-4 overall record and 5-2 in the Big East Conference. ODU qualified for the Big East Conference Tournament. This gave them a shot at playing for a championship and earning a NCAA tournament berth. The tournament champion receives the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship. Head coach Andrew Giffiths expressed his joy for another chance to play the same teams again in the postseason. “I’m excited to get to the Big East Championship and get another shot at these teams,” Griffiths stated. “The best thing about this team is that we have had strong performances from different players each game and so many players have been stepping up to make a difference. We are playing as a real team, and that’s fun to be a part of.”


The Monarchs had a face off with UCONN for the second time this season, and the Huskies were the second seed in the bracket. They had won the last nine consecutive conference tournaments, dating back to 2012. It was a tough and competitive semi-final matchup, as UCONN scored the first goal of the match in the second period. ODU came back with a goal of their own to tie it in the 11 minutes left in the match. UCONN found the back of the cage again and was back in the lead with an intense final two minutes. ODU did not come back for a second time and fell to the Huskies once again. They were eliminated from the Big East tournament. 


Although the Monarchs did not earn the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, they still had a chance to make the big tournament. The NCAA held its selection show on Nov. 7, where the Monarchs watched to see if they got to play. The tournament field is set with 18 teams, with 10 automatic bids for conference champions. The remaining eight are selected based on the top teams in the country that didn’t win their conference championships. The Monarchs were not selected, and their season ended with a 13-5 record (5-2 Big East). There is a lot to look forward to next season, with a young group of women that are determined to take the next leap and bring back the championship in ways that the program is accustomed to.