LEXINGTON, Va. — The wheels on the bus will go round and round and round and round for the Virginia Military Institute lacrosse team, which announced its road-heavy 2013 schedule on Thursday afternoon.
The Keydets, heading into their third season under head coach Brian Anken, will play in Lexington just four times this season while playing nine road games in their 13-game slate. Over the course of the regular season, the Keydets will log nearly 7,000 miles on the road, half of which will come in the first six games of the year.
“With the constantly changing landscape in Division I lacrosse and some scheduling adjustments, we knew this was going to be a very heavy travel year,” said Anken, who enters his 10th season overall as a head coach. “We’re excited about the level of competition on our schedule both in and out of conference. Consistently having multiple NCAA tournament teams on the schedule will help us prepare for what’s expected to be another melee within the MAAC this year.”
After opening the season with six straight road games, VMI will play its first home contest on Mar. 16 against defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion, Canisius College at 1 p.m.
After another two road games, the Keydets return to Post for a three-game home stand, beginning on Apr. 6 with Jacksonville University at 1 p.m. The stand continues on Apr. 14 with Mercer College at noon while the home slate wraps up with Manhattan College on Apr. 20 at 12:30 p.m.
A challenging 2013 schedule, which features three NCAA-qualifying teams and two conference champions, begins on Feb. 9 as the Keydets take on the United States Naval Academy at noon. The Keydets continue the military theme on Feb. 16 as they make the trek to the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., also at noon.
“We are especially excited to continue our relationship with Army and Navy. Having such a high number of players in our program that will be commissioning as officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines there is a tremendous mutual respect and level of competition that those games provide,” said Anken of playing both Army and Navy.
VMI will have a short but challenging trip on Feb. 19 as it travels to perennial powerhouse University of Virginia, which reached the second round of the 2012 NCAA tournament, for a game under the lights at Klöckner Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
The following two games, VMI will travel to the Keystone State to face Saint Joseph’s University on Feb. 23 in Philadelphia at 1 p.m., followed by a trip to Bethlehem on Mar. 2 for a clash with Patriot League champion Lehigh University.
March 12 will see the Keydets challenge former MAAC foe Wagner College on Staten Island for a 1 p.m. scrap.
After opening its home schedule, VMI will hit the road again on Mar. 23 to continue MAAC play against University of Detroit-Mercy. Game time is set for 1 p.m. Following the trek to Michigan, VMI returns to New York state on Mar. 30 for a clash with Marist College in Poughkeepsie at 1 p.m.
The Keydets round out the regular season with one final road trip to the greater Albany, N.Y. area to take on Siena College on Apr. 27. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.
This season’s MAAC championship tournament will be hosted by Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. The four-team tournament will begin with the semifinals on May 3. The ultimate conference prize will be up for grabs on May 5 as the championship game will determine which school receives the league’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament.
“Our very young team will be expected to mature quickly as we open our season with some tough competition on the road,” noted Anken of his team, which features 18 newcomers in 2013.
2013 Virginia Military Institute Men’s Lacrosse Schedule:
February: 9 at Navy – Noon, 16 at Army – noon, 19 at Virginia 7:30 p.m., 23 at Saint Joseph’s – 1 p.m.
March: 2 at Lehigh – 2:30 p.m., 12 at Wagner 1 p.m., 16 vs. Canisius * 1 p.m., 23 at Detroit * – 1 p.m., 30 at Marist * 1 p.m.
April: 6 vs. Jacksonville * – 1 p.m., 14 vs. Mercer – noon, 20 vs. Manhattan * – 12:30 p.m., 27 at Siena * – 1 p.m.
May: 3 MAAC Semifinals at Canisius College (Buffalo, N.Y.) – TBA, 5 MAAC Championship at Canisius College (Buffalo, N.Y.) – TBA
* – indicates Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game.