WEST POINT, N.Y. – Seven home games, six contests against opponents that were ranked in the top 20 of last spring’s final national polls and service-academy showdowns against Air Force in Texas and Navy at Michie Stadium highlight the 2012 Army lacrosse schedule, as announced on Tuesday morning.
“As in previous years, we put together a tremendous strength of schedule out of conference to go along with great Patriot League competition,” said head coach Joe Alberici, who enters his seventh season at the helm. “If we’re successful, it’s a schedule that is set up to help us reach our goals. It’s extremely competitive, and I know the team is very much looking forward to the challenges ahead.”
Army finished the 2011 season receiving votes in the national polls and is scheduled to face four of the top 10 teams, including the top three teams ranked in the final United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll – No. 1 Syracuse (Feb. 26), No. 2 Cornell (March 3) and No. 3 Johns Hopkins (May 5). All three games will be played on the road.
The Black Knights will play seven non-conference contests prior to opening the 2012 Patriot League season on March 17 at Lehigh. The team’s final tune-up for that contest will be a March 10 meeting with service-academy rival Air Force in Houston, Texas, at The Kinkaid School.
“We’re very excited to renew the Army-Air Force rivalry,” Alberici said. “In addition, we’re thankful that such an emerging lacrosse area like Houston wants to host this event. It’s an opportunity for us to showcase Army lacrosse in a growing area.”
After visiting Lehigh for the conference opener, the Black Knights continue a two-game swing through the Lehigh Valley and face Lafayette on March 24 in Easton, Pa. The following Saturday, the Black Knights host Colgate in a rematch of last season’s Patriot League semifinal battle. The game will also feature a battle of teacher versus pupil as Alberici goes up against first-year Colgate head coach Mike Murphy, who spent eight years as an assistant coach on the banks of the Hudson.
The Black Knights play two of three April games at home, but open the month with a trip to central Pennsylvania to visit defending Patriot League Champions Bucknell on April 7.
The following week, Army welcomes Navy to Michie Stadium for the first time since 2008. The April 14 meeting will be the 91st in the series as the Black Knights look for a fourth-straight win over the Midshipmen. Army closes out the month with an April 21 meeting with Holy Cross, which will also serve as Senior Day at Michie Stadium.
The 2012 Patriot League Tournament features the top four teams in the league and is set for April 27 (semifinals) and 29 (championship) at the site of the highest seed. The winner earns the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Eleven-time champion Army will be in search of its second title in three years after capturing the crown in 2010.
Army closes out the regular season with a trip to perennial powerhouse Johns Hopkins on May 5 at historic Homewood Field. Two of the nation’s most storied programs, Army and Johns Hopkins renewed the series after a 14-year hiatus last spring.
Army returns a trio of All-Patriot League players from last spring in junior attackman Garrett Thul, senior long stick midfielder Tim Henderson and senior defenseman Larry LoRusso. Henderson and fellow seniors Brian LoRusso and Devin Lynch were voted to serve as tri-captains in their final season on the banks of the Hudson.