LEXINGTON, Va. — Arguably one of the most challenging schedules in recent memory, Virginia Military Institute head lacrosse coach Brian Anken, who begins his fifth season at the helm, has announced the program’s schedule for the 2015 season.
“Our players came to VMI to be challenged every day both on and off the field,” said Anken of this year’s slate. “Playing a tough, demanding schedule is the best way for our program to continue building confidence, character and most importantly displaying our commitment to success.”
VMI, which went 2-12 overall last season, but had six games decided by two goals or less, including a pair of double-overtime thrillers at Drill Field #2, will face three teams that competed in the NCAA tournament last season, Universities of Richmond and Virginia, as well as the United States Air Force Academy. The Keydets will play back-to-back games on two occasions in 2015 as well as a pair of neutral site games.
“We let too many tight games slip away from us last year and it has been very clear this fall that closing these games out will be a top priority in 2015,” said Anken of the tight games in 2014. “We’re also excited to be playing all three Service Academies again this season.”
VMI opens the program’s 33rd year at the United States Naval Academy for an eighth-straight season. VMI and the Midshipmen open the year on Feb. 8 at noon in Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The following day, the Keydets take on the United States Military Academy at 3 p.m. in West Point, N.Y. at Michie Stadium.
The Keydets, who begin play in the Southern Conference in 2015 after a season in the Atlantic Sun Conference, round out February with a pair of home games at Drill Field #2 with Mount St. Mary’s University on Feb. 14 for a noon start and Saint Joseph’s University on Feb. 21. beginning at 1 p.m.
Another pair of back-to-back games await the Keydets to open March against a pair of NCAA tournament teams. On March 7, the Keydets head to the capital of the Commonwealth for a noon game at Richmond to begin Southern Conference play at Robins Stadium. On March 8, VMI rounds out its Service Academy portion of the schedule with Air Force in Alexandria, Va. at Episcopal High School with a 1 p.m. start.
VMI returns to Drill Field #2 on March 14 for another Southern Conference game as the Keydets welcome the Dolphins of Jacksonville University for a noon game. The Keydets are on the road the next week, heading to Staten Island, N.Y. for a March 17 game at Wagner College, with a time to be announced at a later date, followed by a March 21 game at SoCon opponent Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky. for another noon start.
For the first time since 2009, the University of Virginia will come to Lexington as the Keydets host the Cavaliers on March 24 under the lights at Drill Field #2 for a 7 p.m. start with the in-state foe.
The Keydets host fellow full-time SoCon member Mercer University on April 4 for a noon game at Drill Field #2 before heading to Greenville, S.C. for an April 11 game at Furman University, also beginning at noon, the final true road game of the 2015 regular season.
VMI hosts back-to-back games on April 17 and April 19, with High Point University in SoCon action for the former, followed by Canisius College for the latter. VMI and High Point square off at 7 p.m. while the Keydets and Griffins clash at noon.
The final game of the 2015 regular season will be contested in Scranton, Pa. at Marywood University as VMI and the River Hawks of the University of Massachusetts Lowell meet in the middle. Game time for the neutral site contest is set for 1 p.m.
With the top four teams earning a berth in the league tournament, April 30 will see the SoCon semifinals at a site and time to be determined. The league championship, with the conference’s NCAA tournament automatic qualifier up for grabs, will be on May 2, also at a site and time to be determined.
“This will be a wide open and exciting first season of lacrosse in the Southern Conference. It’s going to be an absolute battle every week to earn a spot in the four team conference tournament this year,” said Anken of the league slate. “We will be ready for this challenge.”
All times and dates are subject to change. Please check back on VMIKeydets.com for any updates or changes.