From Press Release
Saint Joseph’s fifth-year head coach Taylor Wray has announced the schedule for the 2016 men’s lacrosse season. Including their two exhibition games, the Hawks will compete against members of nine conferences, including teams out of the Patriot League, America East, Southern Conference, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Big East, Colonial Athletic Association, Atlantic Coast Conference, Ivy League, and Northeast Conference.
“We are thrilled with the way the 2016 schedule came together for us,” said Wray. “It’s a challenging and diverse schedule, and when you include our two scrimmages, we cover nine of the 10 conferences in Division I lacrosse. With the shift in the lacrosse calendar and by adding a second scrimmage, we were able to push back the start of our season by two weeks, which I think is a really positive thing. We only play two regular season games in February versus three or four in previous years.”
The Hawks will play Army (Feb. 6) in West Point, N.Y. and host Binghamton (Feb. 13) in exhibition games to prepare for the regular season.
The Hawks’ 14-game schedule features eight home contests – including the February 20 home opener against VMI – to be played on Sweeney Field. St. Joe’s will play seven non-conference games to open the season and will see an even three-home, three-away game slate in Northeast Conference play. The bulk of non-conference action will run from February 20 through March 19, while regular-season NEC action will run from March 26 through April 30.
Saint Joseph’s will kick off the 2016 campaign with four consecutive home games, featuring VMI (Feb. 20), Manhattan (Feb. 27), St. John’s (Mar. 2), and Drexel (Mar. 5).
The Hawks will open road play at the University of Virginia’s Klöckner Stadium (Mar. 8) and will face Monmouth (Mar. 12) in West Long Branch, N.J. just four days later before closing out the seven-game non-conference stretch at home vs. Delaware (Mar. 19).
“We’re excited to add another regional opponent and Big East Conference foe in St. John’s University,” said Wray. “I think we can grow that into another great regional rivalry. With Manhattan, Monmouth, Drexel, Penn and Delaware, we are playing a lot of the top teams in our area, and that makes for an exciting non-conference line-up. We’re also looking forward to making the trip down to Charlottesville again over our spring break. They are terrific hosts, and to keep an ACC team on the schedule is really exciting for our players.”
Of Saint Joseph’s eight non-conference opponents, the Hawks faced six last season en route to posting a 3-3 record, with wins over VMI, Monmouth, and Delaware. SJU’s losses to then-#7/7 Virginia and then-#14/12 Penn were decided by just one goal.
This year will mark the first meeting between Saint Joseph’s and St. John’s in program history while SJU and Manhattan will meet for the first time since 2010 and for the first time under the direction of Coach Wray.
“Overall, I think the schedule will prepare us well for conference play, and that’s what really matters most for us right now,” added Wray.
The back-to-back 2014-15 NEC regular-season champion Hawks will kick off their third season in the NEC with a pair of road games at Hobart (Mar. 26) in Geneva, N.Y. and Wagner (Apr. 2) in Staten Island, N.Y.
The Hawks will then return home for a pair of league contests, hosting Sacred Heart (Apr. 9) and four-time defending champion Bryant (Apr. 16) on Alumni and Family Day.
Saint Joseph’s will then head to Robert Morris (Apr. 23) before facing city-rival Penn in non-conference play (Apr. 26) at Franklin Field.
The Hawks will close out the regular-season four days later vs. Mount St. Mary’s (Apr. 30).
The 2016 Northeast Conference Championship will be held on Thursday, May 5 and Saturday, May 7. The top four teams from the regular season qualify for the playoffs, with the highest seed earning the right to host the tournament.
Saint Joseph’s hosted the tournament on Sweeney Field in 2014 and 2015 and reached the championship game last season.
SJU went 6-0 against the same conference opponents in the Northeast Conference regular season in 2015 and is currently 12-0 in NEC regular-season games entering the 2016 campaign.
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