RICHMOND, Va. - VCU field hockey's 2017 season, the first under new head coach Stacey Bean, features 11 home contests, eight Atlantic 10 Conference games and a home match against 2016 NCAA runner-up North Carolina (Oct. 15).

The Rams finished the 2016 season 7-11 overall with a 2-6 mark in Atlantic 10 play but return five of their top six players in individual points from last season. As a team, the group returns 94 of the team's 114 points accumulated last season.

All A-10 First Team selection Emily McNamara, who broke VCU's school record for points in a season in 2016 with 45 as a sophomore, returns along with A-10 All-Rookie team selection Rebecca Ward. McNamara scored a team-high 18 goals and was second on the team in assists with nine. Spencer Tossone also returns after a 2016 season in which she led VCU in assists with 11.

The Rams open the season with a two-game homestand with matches against Drexel (Aug. 25) and Villanova (Aug. 27).

VCU heads to Farmville for its first road contest against Longwood (Sept. 1). It is the first of two matchups against the Lancers in 2017 with the return game at home. VCU also faced Longwood twice in 2016, winning both contests. The Rams will then face Ohio on back-to-back days (Sept. 9-10) in Athens, Ohio.

The Rams make a short trip to face Richmond (Sept. 15) in the Atlantic 10 opener for both squads. VCU then plays four of its next five matches at home, hosting LIU-Brooklyn (Sept. 17) before traveling to Lock Haven (Sept. 22) for an A-10 contest. Central Michigan (Sept. 24) travels to Richmond to face the Rams in a non-conference matchup followed by a home date against 2016 A-10 regular-season champion Saint Joseph's (Sept. 29).

VCU opens the month of October by hosting Appalachian State (Oct. 1) before hitting the road to face the defending A-10 Field Hockey Tournament champions Massachusetts (Oct. 6) and Towson (Oct. 8). The Rams close A-10 conference play by hosting three of their final four conference games.

VCU hosts Davidson (Oct. 13), St. Francis (Oct. 20) and La Salle (Oct. 22) before closing out conference play at St. Louis (Oct. 27). Between those conference games, VCU's match with NCAA Tournament runner-up UNC (Oct. 15) takes place at 1 p.m.

The Rams finish their regular season with the rematch against Longwood at VCU on Oct. 29. The season will conclude with teams that qualify for the A-10 Field Hockey Tournament that takes place at UMass (Nov. 3-4).