December 9, 2010

Navy Announces 2011 Men's Lax Schedule

from press release

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Seventeenth-year Navy's head men's lacrosse coach Richie Meade has announced the Mids' 2011 schedule which features games against six teams ranked in the 2011 Faceoff Yearbook Coaches Preseason Poll. Among the six are five programs who earned NCAA Tournament berths a year ago, including Maryland and arch rival Army, who will both battle the Midshipmen at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium this spring. Navy will play its traditional six-game Patriot League slate, along with seven nonconference battles that include five programs in the Baltimore-Washington DC area.

"Overall our schedule is very challenging," said Meade. "We have six opponents that are ranked in the preseason top 20 which is pretty typical for us. Additionally our schedule has become tougher over the last few year because our conference, the Patriot League, has gotten better."

Navy is on tap to play a pair of scrimmages (Jan. 29 at Duke and Feb. 5 at Virginia) prior to officially kicking off the season on Feb. 12 at home against VMI (12:00 pm). The Mids' meeting against the Keydets marks the fourth-consecutive year the two military institutions have met in what has been both programs' season opener. Last year, a seven-goal first quarter gave Navy a lead it would not relinquish as it dealt VMI a 16-5 loss to take a 3-0 lead in the series.

Navy and Loyola rekindled their series a year ago, meeting for the first time since the 1993 NCAA?Tournament. Greyhounds attackman Cooper MacDonnell proved to be a thorn in the Mids' side, however, as he scored six goals in the contest, including a shot that sealed the win for Loyola with just nine seconds remaining in overtime. Navy and Loyola will play one another at Loyola's Ridley Athletic Complex on Feb. 19 at 3:00 pm. It will be the first of four-straight road games for the Midshipmen, which will include a pair of Patriot League contests.

"We've put together a schedule over the last several years that has been pretty consistent in terms of who we play and when we play them. Scheduling is not an exact science, so if you want to try and maintain that set schedule, sometimes it leads to making some concessions. We'll have to manage, but it's not always such a disadvantage to play on the road."

The Midshipmen will make the trek down to Chapel Hill, N.C. on Feb. 25 (7:30 pm) to battle the third-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels at Fetzer Field. The two programs have a long-standing rivalry that dates back to 1975 and reunites former player and now head coach Joe Breschi with alumnus Richie Meade, who was an assistant at North Carolina when Breschi was a Tar Heel. Seven of the last 12 meetings between the two teams have been decided by one goal, however, last year the Tar Heels took a 13-12 series advantage by winning their first game in Annapolis since 2001.

Additionally, the North Carolina contest is the first of an unprecedented seven Navy games that will be played under the lights this spring.

Navy will have a short turnaround as it kicks off conference action on Tues., March 1 when it travels to Bethlehem, Pa. for the third-consecutive year to face Lehigh. Though Navy owns a 28-1 series advantage, winning 25 in a row, the Mountain Hawks gave the Mids all they could handle in last year's contest. Navy came out the victor with an 8-3 decision after outscoring Lehigh 5-2 in the second half. Game time is set for 7:00 pm at Ulrich Sports Complex.

Since joining the Patriot League in 2004, the annual Navy-Bucknell contest has become a spirited battle. While Navy holds a 7-3 advantage, five of the eight conference matchups have been decided by one goal, including each of the last four. Last year, Navy built a comfortable 6-2 lead through three quarters, but the Bison fought their way back into the game and a Ryan Klipstein goal with 1:25 remaining sent the game into overtime. Navy, though, put the ball in senior Patrick Moran's stick and he stuck his shot 1:20 into overtime to lead the Mids to an 8-7 win at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. This year's much-anticipated battle will also be played under the lights on Saturday, March 5 at Christy Mathewson Stadium in Lewisburg, Pa. (7:30 pm).

After playing on the road for a month, Navy will return home to play host to a much-improved Lafayette program. Head coach Terry Mangan led his Leopards to their first Patriot League Tournament appearance after putting together a 3-3 conference mark and what would be an 8-6 record. Lafayette stunned the Mids a year ago by capturing a 15-8 victory over the Mids in Easton in what was the program's first win over Navy. The two would meet again in the Patriot League Tournament Semis where the Mids used a nine-goal second half to score an 11-9 come-from-behind win over the Leopards. Navy will play host to Lafayette on March 12 at 12:00 pm.

Navy will briefly step away from Patriot League play when it plays host to Towson. Much like the Loyola series, prior to last year's contest Navy and Towson had not met since the mid-90s. And similar to last year's Loyola contest, the game slipped away in the final seconds after a fierce comeback by the Midshipmen. With Navy holding a narrow 5-4 series advantage, Towson will travel to Annapolis for the first time since 1996 when the two programs battle at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, March 15 at 7:00 pm.

Navy goes back on the road on Saturday, March 19, when it travels to Worcester, Mass. to face Holy Cross. A year ago, the Mids held the Crusaders off the scoreboard for the first half and built an 8-0 lead before Holy Cross got on the scoreboard midway through the third quarter. Navy owns a 7-0 series advantage, including a 2-0 mark in games played in Worcester.

Like the Bucknell series, the annual Navy-Colgate matchup has turned into its own rivalry. Though the Mids have a handle on the series with a 10-3 advantage, the last three games have proven to be nail-biters. In 2009, Colgate defeated the Mids in Annapolis (10-9), handing Navy its first conference loss at home since joining the league. Navy, though, upended Colgate in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament, as Joe Lennon scored the last three goals of the game to lead the Mids to a 9-8 triple overtime win. Navy scored the last six goals of last year's game, including a goal by Patrick Moran with 22 seconds remaining to send the game into extra minutes. Moran scored his third goal of the game 1:37 into overtime to lift the Mids past the Raiders, 10-9, in Hamilton, N.Y.

Navy and Colgate will square off in Annapolis on Saturday, March 26 at 12:00 pm. The next four games on Navy's docket are against long-time rivals. Leading off is the April 1 contest at Georgetown, a team the Mids have faced every year since 1991. While the Hoyas own a 14-7 series advantage, the annual meeting has never been short of exciting. In fact, each of the last five games have been decided by two or fewer goals, including last year's contest, in which Navy scored three goals in the final three minutes to send the game into overtime. The game also holds special significance to both programs who honor annually longtime official Scott Boyle, who suffered a heart attack and passed away while officiating the 2005 Navy-Georgetown game.

In what has become a Friday night classic for local fans, Navy and Maryland will once again meet under the lights at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on April 8 (7:00 pm). Fans have been treated to some great battles between the Mids and Terps over the last decade. Eight of the last 12 games have been decided by one goal, including four of the last six. Last year was a classic, as each team made a run and the other answered with one of its own. The Terps, however, would prevail with an 11-9 win at Byrd Stadium.

While this year's game marks the 86th meeting between the two programs, it marks the first between Meade and former Navy assistant coach John Tillman, who was hired over the summer as Maryland's head coach. Tillman spent 12 seasons at the Naval Academy where he mentored the Mids' offensive players. Tillman was a member of the staff that led the Mids to the some of the most successful seasons in program history, including four straight NCAA Tournament berths, four consecutive Patriot League Tournament crowns and four straight Patriot League regular-season titles.

"There's a lot of familiarity between the two staffs with both John (Tillman)?and Ryan (Moran) having coached here at the Academy," said Meade. "I think there's a mutual respect between us."

After a two-year commitment with Inside Lacrosse that took the Army-Navy rivalry away from the two institutions, 2011 will see the rivalry return to Annapolis and Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. One of the sport's longest and most cherished rivalries, the Army-Navy Star Game will be played on Saturday, April 16 at 12:00 pm in what will be the 90th meeting between the two service academies. The Mids own a 57-29-3 series advantage, including wins in 14 of the last 17 games.

"We enjoyed the opportunity to play in the Day of Rivals event, but I?we are excited to have the game back at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

"We're playing a little different role in the series right now and to Army's credit, we're chasing them. We haven't been in this situation since my second year here. This year's game is going to be a great challenge, but it's one that our coaches and players are looking forward to this spring."

For the eignth consecutive year, Navy will close out the regular season by facing Johns Hopkins. But this year's game will be different thanks to Navy attackman Andy Warner who scored last year's game-winner with just 10 seconds left in overtime to snap Hopkins' 35-game winning streak over the Midshipmen. Eight of the last 16 games between the two teams have been decided by one goal, including five of the last eight. For the first time in recent memory, the Navy-Hopkins game will be played at night as the April 23 contest is slated for an 8:00 pm faceoff.

Finally, the four-team Patriot League Tournament is slated to be played April 29 and May 1 at the site of the highest seed. Since joining the league in 2004, the Midshipmen have played host to four of the seven tournaments and have claimed the title five times. Navy owns an 11-2 all-time record in the Patriot League Tournament.

"I'm impressed with the growth and competitive nature of our conference and have been for the last few years," said Meade, who has twice been named the Patriot League Coach of the Year, while also leading the Mids to five Patriot League Tournament titles.

"I?think every program has the talent to win any game against any conference opponent. Conference-wide, however, I?think we need to get more wins against nonconference opponents that are meaningful and significant. I?firmly believe that pretty much every team is staged to be able to do that. If we can, then the Patriot League can establish itself and perhaps get two teams into the national tournament on a consistent basis. It's a difficult task, but I?do think we are on the cusp of making that happen."

Navy's television schedule was unavailable at press time and will be released at a later date.

2011 Navy Men's Lacrosse Schedule (as of Dec. 9, 2010)

Preseason Scrimmages
Date       Day       Opponent               Time      Location
Jan. 29    Sat.      at Duke              12:00 pm    Durham, N.C.
Feb. 5     Sat.      at Virginia           1:00 pm    Charlottesville, Va.
Regular-Season Schedule
Date       Day       Opponent               Time      Location
Feb. 12    Sat.      VMI                  12:00 pm    Annapolis, Md.
Feb. 19    Sat.      at Loyola             3:00 pm    Baltimore, Md.
Feb. 25    Fri.      at North Carolina     7:30 pm    Chapel Hill, N.C.
March 1    Tues.   * at Lehigh             7:00 pm    Bethlehem, Pa.
March 5    Sat.    * at Bucknell           7:30 pm    Lewisburg, Pa.
March 12   Sat.    * Lafayette            12:00 pm    Annapolis, Md.
March 15   Tues.     Towson                7:00 pm    Annapolis, Md.
March 19   Sat.    * at Holy Cross        12:00 pm    Worcester, Mass.
March 26   Sat.    * Colgate              12:00 pm    Annapolis, Md.
April 1    Fri.      at Georgetown         7:00 pm    Washington, D.C.
April 8    Fri.      Maryland              7:00 pm    Annapolis, Md.
April 16   Sat.    * Army                 12:00 pm    Annapolis, Md.
April 23   Sat.      at Johns Hopkins      8:00 pm    Baltimore, Md.
April 29,  Fri.,
May 1      Sun.      Patriot League Tournament at highest seed

Home contests played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
* Patriot League contest

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