By Anthony Covino
Fall and Spring sports are finally returning after a years long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. All the FDU sports returning include Soccer, Baseball, Softball, Volleyball, Golf, Tennis, and Track and Field will all be beginning their season in the coming months after the NEC released a new update.
Also, the NEC will introduce an all new playoff format as well where only two of the teams will advance to the NEC Tournament in Soccer, half of the teams advancing in Baseball, Softball, and Bowling with Golf, Tennis, and Outdoor Track and Field having one event being the NEC Championships.
FDU Athletics announced yesterday all the upcoming schedules for men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball with an all NEC schedule with non-conference opponents for soccer.
Fall-to-spring sports were postponed before the fall semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic with the NEC Presidents deciding to reconvene before the start of the spring semester to plan the upcoming season in the spring. THE NEC announced the plan on Dec. 3, 2020 with the plans for all fall and spring sports.
“It’s been a long road to get to this point, so this announcement comes with great anticipation and excitement around the league,” NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris said in the press release.
“These are unprecedented times, so I’m thankful for our Council of Presidents and athletic administrators from around the conference for their unwavering resolve in identifying solutions that prioritized health and safety, and forged a clear path toward a return to play,” Morris added.
FDU cross country will forgo the 2021 seasonto focus on the outdoor track and field season , Athletic said via FDUKnights.com.
Men’s soccer will follow the new NEC format, playing a seven-match conference schedule to be contested in a single round-robin format over six weeks from March 2-April 13. Matches will be played on Tuesday and Friday and there will be a single-match NEC championship pitting the No. 1 and No. 2 team on April 16-18.
Women’s soccer will follow the new NEC format, playing an eight-match conference schedule in a single round-robin format from March 2-April 13. Matches will be Tuesday and Friday as well and there will be a single-match NEC championship pitting the No. 1 and No. 2 on April 3.
Women’s volleyball will play a 12-match conference schedule in a double round-robin doubleheader format from March 2-March 31 with matches alternating between Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. The No.1 and No. 2 will play for the NEC championship on April 3.
Women’s bowling has two NEC bowling events scheduled with eight teams bowling a single round-robin on Feb. 19-21 in Pennsylvania and Feb. 26-28 in New Jersey.A five team, double-elimination NEC championship is slated for March 18-21.
Baseball will have a 30-game conference schedule in a round-robin format (all three-game series) over10 weeks from March 19-May 22 with games on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There will be a four-team, double-elimination NEC championship on May 27-30 with the location TBD
Softball will have a 32-game conference schedule in a round-robin format (all four-game series) over eight weeks with makeup dates from March 20-May 9. Game will be played Saturday and Sunday with one midweek opponent. A four-team, double-elimination NEC championship will be played at the higher seed on May 13-15.
Men’s and women’s golf will have the NEC Championship at the Penn National (Founders course) in Fayetteville, Penn. The women’s championship is April 16-18 with men’s on April 23-25
Men’s and women’s tennis will play the team championships on April 16-18 at the Mercer County Tennis Center in West Windsor, N.J.
Men’s and women’s outdoor track and field championships will be May 1-2 at Bryant University in Rhode Island.
In the NEC Updates, Saint Francis University (PA) has decided to opt out of all fall to spring sports competition with Central Connecticut State University opting out of football.
The following season plans were developed with conference and institutional athletic administrators, the NEC Sport Management Committee, and the NEC COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee, and approved by the NEC Council of Presidents.
For a calendar of all the games click here.