Moon Township, Pa. – Robert Morris University men’s lacrosse head coach Andrew McMinn announced the Colonials’ 2012 schedule Monday, a 14-game slate that features the first night game at Joe Walton Stadium in program history.
RMU’s 2012 campaign will offer multiple challenges due to both its opponents and the locations of its games. The Colonials will play nine games away from home in 2012, the highest total since their inaugural season. Additionally, Robert Morris has six non-conference contests against schools that have advanced to at least one NCAA Tournament in the past four years, including a road matchup with 2011 Final Four participant Denver.
The Colonials will again compete for a Northeast Conference (NEC) championship as 2012 represents the league’s second full season of existence as well as its final one before the conference is eligible for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Robert Morris will start the season with four consecutive games away from home although there will still be some level of familiarity in the season opener. RMU will open its eighth season of existence Saturday, Feb. 11, at Bellarmine at 1:00 p.m. It will be the fifth-straight season the programs have faced off and the seventh overall meeting between the schools. RMU has won two of the past three matchups with the Knights, scoring at least 15 goals in each, as it used multi-goal games from six different Colonials a year ago to post an 18-10 victory.
While it has a long history with its first opponent, RMU has little experience with its next three foes as it has just one combined meeting with the trio. Robert Morris travels to Baltimore Saturday, Feb. 18, for its initial game against UMBC, a squad that has reached four of the past six NCAA Tournaments.
On the final weekend of February, the Colonials will head west to participate in the ‘DU Face-Off Classic,’ playing two games in two days at Denver. RMU will face Air Force Saturday, Feb. 25, at 11:00 a.m. (1:00 p.m. ET). The Colonials will be meeting the Falcons for just the second time in school history after Robert Morris knocked off Air Force at home, 13-7, in 2010.
RMU will wrap up the weekend with a contest against the host Pioneers Sunday, Feb. 26, at 1:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. ET). The 2011 national semifinalists went 15-3 in 2011, ranking second nationally in winning percentage and among the top five nationally in both scoring offense and scoring margin. The two games in the Rocky Mountain State will mark the first time in program history the Colonials have played west of the Mississippi River and also just the second time in school history that RMU has competed on back-to-back days.
After having four games away from home in February, Robert Morris will play its home opener against Colgate Saturday, March 3, at Noon. It will be the first home meeting for RMU against the Raiders.
With its first home contest in the rearview mirror, RMU will head back to the road for three straight games over 12 days. The Colonials open the roadtrip Friday, March 9, at 7:00 p.m. with a matchup against Ohio State. The game will come two years to the day after the Colonials’ first-ever victory over the Buckeyes, a 12-7 triumph in which RMU scored five times in the first eight minutes of action. It will also start a stretch in which RMU will play three of its next four games under the lights.
Robert Morris continues the trip Saturday, March 17, at 1:00 p.m. as it plays at Hobart for the first time in school history.
The Colonials will conclude the three-game stretch Tuesday, March 20, at 7:00 p.m. with a rematch of one of last season’s more memorable contests. RMU will travel to face Keystone State foe Bucknell one year after handing the nationally-ranked Bison a 7-5 defeat. Bucknell would go on to qualify for the NCAA Tournament and gave eventual national champion Virginia its closest scare as the Bison took the Cavaliers to overtime before falling, 13-12.
One week after meeting the Bison on the road at night, the Colonials will play the first RMU night lacrosse game at Joe Walton Stadium in school history. Robert Morris will host Canisius Tuesday, March 27, at 7:00 p.m., continuing the most-played non-conference series in program history. The Colonials and Golden Griffins have met in all seven prior seasons of RMU’s existence with Robert Morris taking each of the past two meetings.
With its non-conference slate complete, Robert Morris will play each of its five NEC opponents on the final five Saturdays of its regular season.
Robert Morris will open league play with two road games before playing each of its final three contests at home. RMU will play at Wagner March 31 and at Sacred Heart April 7. The Colonials have won five straight games against the Seahawks and three straight against the Pioneers as RMU and Sacred Heart will be meeting for the eighth time in eight years.
RMU will play its first NEC home game April 14 against defending league champion Mount St. Mary’s. The following weekend the Colonials will host Quinnipiac for the first time in program history before closing the regular season with an April 28 meeting against Bryant. All of the Colonials’ NEC games will begin at 1:00 p.m. except its contest against Sacred Heart, which will be a Noon faceoff.
The Colonials will again look to finish among the top four NEC teams to claim their second-consecutive postseason berth. The NEC Semifinals will be Friday, May 4, with the championship occurring Sunday, May 6, with all three games taking place at the site of the highest seed.
Robert Morris earned its first postseason berth in school history in 2011 and also became the first Division I program since 1997 to lead the nation in scoring offense in back-to-back seasons. The Colonials’ aforementioned victory over Bucknell was also its first over a nationally-ranked opponent in school history.