PISCATAWAY, N.J. (November 27, 2013) – The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team released its 2014 schedule, head coach Laura Brand-Sias announced on Wednesday. Highlighting the slate are matchups against six 2013 NCAA Tournament qualifying teams, as well as nine total home contests. All but one of the squad’s nine home games will be played at High Point Solutions Stadium, while the remaining contest will take place at the F3 Turf Field. Dates are still to be determined.
Six of RU’s 17 opponents concluded the 2013 season ranked in the top 20 of the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWCLA) Coaches Poll and deBeer Women’s Media Poll. Rutgers highest ranked opponent this season is Penn State which finished No. 6/7, followed by Georgetown (No. 8/8), Stony Brook (No. 11/10), Penn (No. 17/19), Princeton (No. 18/14) and UConn, who ranked No. 20 in the IWCLA Poll.
“As always, we strive to maintain a highly competitive schedule,” said Brand-Sias. “This year’s slate provides us great opportunity, both in and out of conference, and we are ready to hit the ground running. With most of our squad returning, including key players returning from injury, we are excited about our potential for success.”
RU opens the season on Feb. 15 at Manhattan, a team the Scarlet Knights have never dropped a contest to. Rutgers is 5-0 all-time against the Jaspers after topping the New York school, 15-5, in last season’s opener.
The Scarlet Knights will then open their home slate on Feb. 22, as the squad welcomes the Stags of Fairfield University “To the Banks.”
Brand-Sias will lead her team on a quick trip to in-state rival, Princeton, just four days later (Feb. 26) for RU’s first mid-week game of the season. RU looks to continue a two-game win streak against the Tigers who they are 4-11-1 all-time against. Last year, Princeton earned an at-large big to the NCAA Championships, where it ultimately fell to No. 8 Duke, 10-9, in double overtime. Rutgers defeated the Tigers, 12-10, last year to win its second-consecutive contest against the local opponent.
Rutgers opens March with a home match against Delaware, who it has won four-straight against, before facing off against NCAA qualifying team, Penn, in Philadelphia on March 5. Last year, the Scarlet Knights edged the Quakers by a score of 6-5 in Piscataway, N.J.
The Scarlet Knights then host their longest home streak of three-straight games, spanning from March 8- 15. RU will face off against back-to-back NCAA teams as Stony Brook travels to Piscataway for the teams’ first-ever matchup. The Seawolves advanced to the Second Round of last year’s championship tournament before falling to the eventual runner-up, Maryland, by a score of 11-3.
Penn State makes its way to Rutgers four days later, as the teams respark an old rivalry. RU has faced the Nittany Lions a total of 14 times, but the last matchup occurred during the 1998 season. PSU represents arguably the most impressive opponent of the season, as the team earned an at-large bid for the 2013 NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Quarterfinals before falling to Northwestern.
The Scarlet Knights close out the homestand against James Madison on March 15. The meeting between the two teams will be just the second ever. In 1999, Rutgers faced the Dukes and fell 11-6 in the First Round of NCAAs, to mark RU’s first-ever appearance in the tournament. Led by Brand-Sias in her senior season, Rutgers would finish the campaign with a 14-3 overall record, highlighted by an 11-game winning streak to close out the regular season. The ’99 season was also the first time in program history the Scarlet Knights received a national ranking.
Rutgers proceeds to play three-straight road games, beginning with a trip to Ithaca, N.Y. to face Cornell (March 22). RU wraps up nonconference action at Hofstra (March 26), before opening BIG EAST conference action at Villanova (March 14), which the Scarlet Knights are a perfect 21-0 against.
The Scarlet Knights host their last homestand of the season to begin the month of April, when they welcome UConn on April 5. The Huskies finished the 2013 campaign with an overall record of 13-4 and earned the program’s first-ever at-large NCAA Tournament bid after falling to Syracuse in the BIG EAST Tournament Semifinals. UConn would ultimately lose to Massachusetts, 14-10, in the First Round.
Less than a week later, Marquette travels to Piscataway to face Rutgers for the second time in program history. Last year served as the Golden Eagles’ inaugural women’s lacrosse season. Marquette concluded the year with a 2-15 record.
Georgetown’s April 13 visit “To the Banks” marks the final NCAA Tournament qualifying team RU will match up against in the regular season. The Hoyas earned a bye in the First Round of the NCAA Championships after falling to Syracuse in the BIG EAST Championship Finals and were defeated by Virginia, 10-8, in the Second Round.
Brand-Sias and Co. embark on their longest away trip of the season beginning April 17, when the squad faces off against Cincinnati before taking on Louisville on April 19.
RU will play its final home and regular season contest against first-year BIG EAST opponent, Temple, on April 25.
The 2014 BIG EAST Tournament will take place in Washington, D.C. from May 1- 3. The First Round of the NCAA Championships is set for May 10, with the Final Four set to begin on May 23 at Towson Stadium in Baltimore, Md.
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BOLD CAPS INDICATES HOME CONTESTS* Indicates BIG EAST contests