Navy Announces 2018 Men's Lacrosse Schedule
2018 Navy Men's Lacrosse Schedule
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Seventh-year Navy men’s lacrosse coach Rick Sowell announced the Mids’ 2018 schedule on Tuesday which features games against four programs who finished the 2017 campaign ranked among the top 20 in the USILA Coaches Poll and three who played in the 2017 NCAA Tournament including defending National Champion Maryland and perennial power Syracuse.
Syracuse, who has made 36 NCAA Tournament appearances and won more NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships (10) than any other program in the country, will replace Johns Hopkins on this year’s schedule. With Johns Hopkins joining the Big Ten Conference in 2015 and the growth of the Patriot League by two teams in 2014, the annual series, which began in 1908 and has seen 91 games played, was forced from its usual mid-April meeting to a mid-week matchup in February or early March. Both Navy head coach Rick Sowell and Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala felt it was a disservice to the programs, alumni and fans to play a series of that magnitude in February on a week night.
“For the first time in many years a noticeable absence from our non-conference schedule is Johns Hopkins,” said Sowell. “Coach Pietramala and I worked extremely hard over the past several months to find a date that would fit a game of this magnitude. Unfortunately conference demands did not allow for a date that would be appropriate to honor the legacy of this rivalry. While both programs are disappointed, we are making it a priority to resume the series as soon as our schedules allow.”
“Our game against Navy always has been and always will be a priority,” noted Pietramala. “Unfortunately, conference play for both teams has made it increasingly difficult to find an appropriate date for this rivalry to be played. We’ll keep what’s in the best interest of both programs in mind and continue to work with Navy to find a solution that is convenient and beneficial; everyone is anxious to find the best date to renew this great rivalry.”
The Midshipmen will be tested early as five of their first six games will be played away from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. For just the second time in the Sowell era, Navy opens its season on the road when it travels to Florida to meet Jacksonville on Sunday, Feb. 4, in the opener. This will be the second meeting between the Mids and Dolphins, as the two met in 2012 at the Jacksonville Jaguars’ EverBank Field as part of the Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic.
A week later (Feb. 10), Navy will make the short trip to College Park, Md. where it will face the defending National Champions, the Maryland Terrapins. While the two programs have met 92 times, they have battled one another in each of the last 72 years in what is the second-longest continuous series Navy has with another team (Army, 85 consecutive years). The Feb. 10 meeting is the earliest the two programs have met in series history and will be just the fifth time (March 25, 1972 / Feb. 14, 2015 / Feb. 13, 2016 / Feb. 10, 2017) they have met prior to the month of April.
Though just 30 miles separates Navy and UMBC, the two programs will meet for the first time since 2003 (Navy, 13-10) in what will be the Mids’ home opener on Saturday, Feb. 17. Navy leads the series against the Retrievers, 22-4, who are in their second season under the direction of former Navy assistant coach Ryan Moran.
“Adding new opponents such as Jacksonville, UMBC and Syracuse to our nonconference slate to go along with Maryland and Penn is exciting for both our coaching staff and players,” said Sowell. “The diversity of our nonconference schedule will prepare us well for the Patriot League and will certainly offer us a challenge in and out of conference play.”
The Midshipmen will begin their quest for to win the Patriot League when they open conference play on Feb. 24 at Boston University. The two will square off in the league opener for a third straight year and will mark the 12th time in 15 seasons as a member of the Patriot League that Navy will start its season away from Annapolis (Home 0-3 / Road 4-6 / Neutral 1-0). Each of the last two meetings have been decided by a goal, including a double-overtime loss by the Mids in their last trip to Nickerson Field.
Navy will remain on the road a second straight week when it faces Bucknell in Lewisburg, Pa. on Saturday, March 3. Navy took a one-game lead in the series, 9-8, after scoring a 13-7 win over the Bison last year at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Seven of the 15 league matchups between the two have been decided by one goal, including six of the last 11.
After rekindling its series a year ago with Penn, the Quakers and Mids will meet on middle ground, facing one another at Tierney Field in Sparks, Md., the home of US Lacrosse. The two programs were fierce competitors from the early 1900’s through the ‘90s when the rivalry was discontinued in 1999. The two programs squared off in the opening round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament where Navy dealt the Quakers an 11-5 loss. While Navy leads the series, 47-6, 10th-ranked Penn posted an 11-9 win over the Mids a year ago in Philly.
The Mids will play four of their next five games at home, kicking it off on Saturday, March 10 against Lafayette. The Mids lead the all-time series against the Leopards, 17-2. The following week, March 17, the Mids will play host to defending Patriot League champion Loyola. Navy owns a 4-3 advantage over the Greyhounds in games played in Annapolis, including a thrilling 10-9 win in 2016. Four of the last six games between Navy and Loyola have been one-goal decisions.
Navy travels to Bethlehem, Pa. on Saturday, March 24 to face Lehigh in what will be the eighth time in the last 12 meetings the two teams will play at Lehigh (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, twice in 2014, 2016 / at Navy in 2008, 2012, 2015, 2017). The Mids have won three in a row against the Mountain Hawks and lead the series, 31-6.
Navy returns home to play back-to-back home games against Holy Cross (March 31) and Colgate (April 7). The Mids own a 13-2 series advantage against Holy Cross and a 13-7 lead over the Raiders of Colgate.
Navy will close out its Patriot League schedule on Saturday, April 14 with one of the sport’s longest and most cherished rivalries, the Army-Navy game, in what will be the 99th meeting between the two service academies. The Mids own a 60-35-3 series advantage, including wins in each of the last three Star Games. Last year, Navy went on a 7-0 run over the final 16 minutes of the game to overcome a three-goal deficit and defeat #8 Army West Point, 10-6. The Mids also clinched the Army-Navy Star Series presented by USAA by Navy for the 19th time in the last 21 years.
The Mids will play their final regular-season game against a team they last met in the 2004 NCAA Championship. Syracuse will play host to Navy on Saturday, April 21 in a series that began in 1919 and last saw a regular-season game played between the two in 1989. The two then met on Memorial Day of 2004, as Navy’s bid for an NCAA Championship came up short in a 14-13 loss.
“Navy fans will remember the last time these two teams met,” said Sowell. “It was Memorial Day 2004 in the NCAA Championship Game and what a memorable game it was! We are thrilled to add Syracuse back to our schedule. With a home-and-home series scheduled over the next two seasons Syracuse and Navy will again get to add to what has been an exciting series. I am ecstatic that Coach Desko and I were able to work this out.”
The Patriot League Tournament will again feature six teams with the top two seeds receiving a bye, while quarterfinal contests will be played between the 3-6 and 4-5 seeds on Tuesday, April 24. The Patriot League semifinals will be played on Friday, April 27 at the site of the top seed with the championship slated for Sunday, April 29.
Navy’s television and radio schedule will be announced at a later date. All game times are tentative.
### Go Navy ###