DENVER – The University of Denver announced the 2012 schedule for the reigning Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Champions and 2011 Final Four men’s lacrosse team on Friday. The slate is highlighted by non-conference contests against three teams that competed in the 2011 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships, including 2011 Final Four contender Duke. DU has also scheduled exhibition matches against Ivy League powerhouse Harvard, the U.S. National Team and contender North Carolina.
“As the University of Denver continues its quest to rise to the top of Division I lacrosse, we are continually looking to play the best competition available,” said head coach Bill Tierney. “Having a great strength of schedule in 2011 impressed the NCAA Committee and certainly helped us attain a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.”
The Pioneers embark on a season with higher expectations and an extremely competitive schedule following their best season since becoming Division I and a trip to the NCAA semifinals.
The Pioneers’ fall schedule kicked off on Saturday, Oct. 8 against the Harvard Crimson in the third San Francisco Fall Classic. Denver continues its fall campaign on Saturday, Oct. 22 against the 2011 Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Semifinalist Denver Outlaws at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium in the Third Annual Colorado Lacrosse Showcase. DU then opens play in 2012 with a Sunday, Jan. 29 exhibition match against the U.S. National Team at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
After going on the road to take on 2011 NCAA Lacrosse Championship participant North Carolina for their final scrimmage of the fall season on Saturday, Feb. 4th, Denver opens the 2012 regular season as it travels to Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, Feb. 18th to face-off with the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Pioneers will be playing at EverBank Field, home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Pioneers open their home schedule with the annual DU Face-Off Classic, where they will see Michigan on Saturday, Feb. 25 and Robert Morris on Sunday, Feb. 26. DU will be one of the first teams Michigan will compete against since turning into a varsity sport and becoming Division I this past summer. Air Force will also take part in the DU Face-Off Classic.
Following games against Hartford on Saturday, March 3, Penn State on Saturday, March 10 and 2011 Elite Eight squad Notre Dame on Sunday, March 18, the Pioneers open their 2011 ECAC portion of their season with a road contest against Air Force on Saturday, March 24.
Next, the Pioneers host three straight home games at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium, beginning with Hobart (March 31), Bellarmine (April 6) and Loyola (April 14). The Pioneers close out ECAC play on the road against Fairfield on Saturday, April 21.
“Obviously, this schedule presents great challenges to our team, but we look forward to each one,” Tierney said. “Playing in so many highlight events gives our players the unique opportunity to represent the University of Denver on a grand scale. This is the type of schedule young men look to be playing when they sign on to play Division I lacrosse and we are very proud to accept the challenge.”
The regular season home finale against the Duke Blue Devils on Friday, April 27 gives fans the opportunity to see two 2011 Final Four squads face-off just before the postseason. The game will take place at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium, home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos.
The 2012 ECAC Tournament will again be held at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium from May 6-8.
The Pioneers return the majority of their Final Four team from last season, including Second-Team All-American Mark Matthews and sophomore Jeremy Noble, DU’s first-ever NCAA All-Tournament Team selection. Also returning are senior captain and 2010 All-American Alex Demopoulos, juniors Chase Carraro and Cameron Flint, along with sophomore goaltender Jamie Faus, all of whom received All-American honorable mention honors after the 2011 season.
Visit DenverPioneers.com for the most comprehensive coverage of the Pioneer men’s lacrosse team, as well as all of DU’s 17 athletic programs.