BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh head men’s lacrosse coach Kevin Cassese announced the team’s 2014 schedule on Tuesday which includes 15 games highlighted by an eight-game Patriot League slate and games against two-time defending Ivy League Champion Yale, 2012 National Champion Loyola and perennial lacrosse power Princeton. The Mountain Hawks will be vying for their third straight Patriot League Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2014.
“Putting together a highly competitive schedule, both regionally and nationally, is always a goal for our lacrosse program,” said Cassese. “The 2014 schedule has an exciting look, with some fresh faces and some familiar foes.”
Lehigh begins its season on Feb. 1, the earliest game in program history, when it travels to South Carolina to face new lacrosse program Furman. The Paladins are led by former Navy head coach Richie Meade, who is also head coach of the U.S. National Team. Coach Cassese serves as an assistant coach on that staff.
The Mountain Hawks will then head home for a two-game homestand, against Marquette (Feb. and in-state rival Villanova (Feb. 15). The Wildcats advanced to the Big East Championship Game a season ago.
Patriot League play begins early with the addition of two new squads. Lehigh kicks off league play by traveling to new member (and new lacrosse program) Boston University on Feb. 22 before hosting 2012 National Champion and 2013 NCAA Tournament participant Loyola on Mar. 1.
League play continues the following Saturday (Mar. at Bucknell in a rematch of the 2012 Patriot League Title Game. Lehigh travels to two-time defending Ivy League Champ Yale on Tuesday, Mar. 11 for a midweek clash before hosting Navy (Mar. 15) and traveling to Army (Mar. 22) on consecutive Saturdays.
Lehigh will welcome Monmouth for a midweek game on Wednesday, Mar. 26 to kick off a three-game homestand which also features showdowns with Holy Cross (Mar. 29) and Colgate (Apr. 5). For the second straight season, the Mountain Hawks will host the Raiders in Goodman Stadium.
Lehigh will close out its season with a three-game road trip. The squad heads to perennial lacrosse power Princeton on Tuesday, Apr. 8 for a clash with the Tigers. Princeton has won six national championships since 1990 and qualified for 20 of the last 23 NCAA Tournaments.
The Mountain Hawks will then face Big East member Georgetown on Apr. 12 in a neutral site showdown in Ridley, Pa. before heading to Lafayette to play the archrival Leopards under the lights on Apr. 18.
“With the many changes that are taking place around the country with regards to conference re-alignment, it is great to be a part of a league that has tremendous stability and is always looking to improve,” said Cassese. “The 2014 Patriot League season will be highly competitive with the traditional members, as well as the additions of perennial national contender Loyola and newcomer BU.”
With the addition of Boston University and Loyola, the Patriot League Tournament has expanded to six teams. The top two seeds will receive a bye with the three through six seeds squaring off in the first round on Tuesday, Apr. 22. The semifinals and championship game are set for Apr. 25 and 27, respectively, at the site of the top seed and regular season champion.
The NCAA First Round is set for Saturday (May 10) and Sunday (May 11) on campus sites. The quarterfinals are the following weekend, May 17 at Delaware Stadium in Newark, Del. and May 18 at James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.
Championship Weekend is set for May 24-26 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. with the Division I Semifinals set for the 24th and National Championship Game on the 26th.
Lehigh finished last season 12-5 and a perfect 6-0 in Patriot League play before beating Colgate and Bucknell in the league tournament to capture its second straight championship. The Mountain Hawks lose a talented senior class, but return a core of talented players including All-Americans Matt Poillon and Ty Souders along with juniors Dan Taylor and Patrick Corbett who combined for 52 goals and 24 assists last season.