VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova men’s lacrosse Head Coach Mike Corrado has announced the schedule for the upcoming 2012 season. The spring slate features one of the toughest schedules in Villanova history and includes six home games and six contests against 2011 NCAA tournament teams, four of which were ranked inside the Top 10 in the USILA and Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media polls at the conclusion of the 2011 season.
Perhaps the biggest addition will be the inaugural BIG EAST tournament to be held at Villanova Stadium on May 3rd and 5th after the conference began hosting men’s lacrosse at the start of the 2010 season.
For the second straight year, Lehigh kicks off the men’s lacrosse campaign as the Wildcats travel to Bethlehem for the 22nd meeting with the Mountain Hawks on Saturday, Feb. 18th. Villanova holds a 13-9 advantage in the all-time series, with the Wildcats claiming last year’s outing, 9-8, in Villanova Stadium. The Mountain Hawks concluded their 2011 season with a 7-9 overall record, going 3-3 in the Patriot League and finishing fourth in the conference.
Villanova will open the home portion of their schedule the following week against Bucknell on Saturday, Feb. 25th. The Wildcats were defeated in their 2011 meeting against the Bison, 10-8, while Bucknell finished the year with a 14-3 overall record, going 6-0 in the conference and winning the Patriot League title. The all-time series between the programs stands at a stalwart at 6-6 apiece.
Rounding out the month of February, the Wildcats will host Philadelphia-rival Drexel in a mid-week matchup on Tuesday, Feb. 28th. The Dragons are coming off an 8-7 overall record in 2011, finishing fifth in the CAA at the conclusion of the season.
On Saturday, March 3rd the Wildcats will travel to Delaware Stadium in Newark, Del. to face another former CAA rival in the University of Delaware. Villanova handily defeated UDel 10-4 last season and leads in the all-time series, 7-4. Despite the loss, the Blue Hens finished 2011 with an 11-7 overall record and advanced to the first-round of the NCAA Tournament. Delaware was last victorious against Villanova in 2008.
One of the most heated games of the season is slated for Saturday, March 10th when Villanova makes the short trek to Franklin Field to face the University of Pennsylvania. The Wildcats ousted the Quakers in overtime, 9-8, at Villanova Stadium last season and looks to close the gap in the all-time series where Penn leads 15-7. The two programs have played every season dating back to 1997 and first met nearly 10 years earlier in 1988.
The Wildcats round out Ivy League competition on Tuesday, March 13th when Princeton makes a visit to the Main Line, marking the first appearance from the Tigers in Villanova Stadium since 1989. The Wildcats claimed their first win over the Ivy League foe in a 10-9 victory in the Class of 1952 Stadium last season and look to close the gap in the all-time series which Princeton leads 3-1.
On Saturday, March 17th and Sunday, March 25th Villanova will enter what could be the toughest portion of their schedule on the road against Maryland and Syracuse in back-to-back weekends. The Terps will host Villanova for the first time in 15 years in College Park on St. Patrick’s Day. Maryland finished 2011 with a 13-5 overall record and advanced to the NCAA title game before falling to Virginia, 9-7, for the championship. Just a week later, a visit to Syracuse, N.Y. marks the beginning of BIG EAST play for the Wildcats when they take on the Orange in the Carrier Dome. Villanova will be looking to avenge their last-minute defeat when Syracuse snuck away with a 5-4 victory in front of nearly 8,000 fans in Villanova Stadium last year. The 2011 Orange advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament before falling to Maryland in the quarterfinals.
Rounding out the month of March will be a road trip to State College to face the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday, March 31st. Penn State leads the all-time series 14-3 but the Wildcats claimed a decisive 17-5 victory in 2011.
April will dominate Villanova’s BIG EAST slate beginning with the final mid-week match of the season versus Georgetown on Wednesday, April 4th at Villanova Stadium. Just three days later, the Wildcats will travel to Piscataway, N.J. to face Rutgers at Yurcak Field. The Hoyas and Scarlet Knights are both looking to rebound from 7-7 and 5-8 records after finishing 3rd and 6th in the 2011 conference standings, respectively.
The Wildcats will return home to Villanova Stadium for a two-game home slate against St. John’s on Saturday, April 14th and Notre Dame on Saturday, April 21st. The Wildcats lead the all-time series against the Red Storm, 7-6, after posting an 11-9 victory at DaSailva Memorial Field a year ago. The Fighting Irish will visit their East Coast fan base and look to avenge their 2010 loss from their last visit to Villanova Stadium. The Wildcats fell to the Fighting Irish, 12-8, at Arlotta Stadium last Spring and trail in the all-time series, 10-5, but Villanova will have the extra momentum of home field advantage and Senior Day on their side for the contest.
Villanova concludes the regular season with a trip to Providence, R.I. to face the Friars on Saturday, April 28th for their last tune-up before the BIG EAST Tournament and postseason play. The Wildcats lead 3-0 in the all-time series against Providence while the Friars finished their 2011 season 3-12 overall and 0-6 in the BIG EAST.
Villanova will have extra incentive this season after being tabbed as the host of the inaugural BIG EAST Tournament to be held on Thursday, May 3rd and Saturday, May 5th. The tournament will include the top four teams in BIG EAST regular season round-robin competition with the winner claiming the all-important NCAA automatic bid to the 16-team post-season tournament.
Villanova Men’s Lacrosse 2012 Schedule
Sat, Feb. 18 at Lehigh Bethlehem, Pa. TBD
Sat. Feb. 25 BUCKNELL Villanova, Pa. TBD
Tues. Feb. 28 DREXEL Villanova, Pa. TBD
Sat, Mar. 3 at Delaware Newark, Del. TBD
Sat. Mar. 10 at Penn Philadelphia, Pa. TBD
Tues. Mar. 13 PRINCETON Villanova, Pa. TBD
Sat. Mar. 17 at Maryland College Park, Md. TBD
Sun. Mar. 25 at Syracuse* Syracuse, N.Y. TBD
Sat. Mar. 31 at Penn State State College, Pa. TBD
Wed. Apr. 4 GEORGETOWN*Villanova, Pa. TBD
Sat. Apr. 7 at Rutgers* Piscataway, N.J. TBD
Sat. Apr. 14 ST. JOHN’S* Villanova, Pa. TBD
Sat. Apr. 21 NOTRE DAME* Villanova, Pa. TBD
Sat. Apr. 28 at Providence* Providence, R.I. TBD
Thurs. May 3 BIG EAST Semi* Villanova, Pa. TBD
Sat. May 5 BIG EAST Final* Villanova, Pa. TBD
*BIG EAST Conference Game