Hartford Announces Men's Schedule, Will Open with Maryland
from press release
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – University of Hartford men's lacrosse coach Peter Lawrence announced the 2012 schedule for the reigning America East Conference tournament champions on Wednesday. The 14-game regular season slate is highlighted by non-conference contests against three teams that competed in the 2011 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships including a season-opening match-up with Maryland, the national runner-up.
The Hawks embark on a season with higher expectations and an extremely challenging and competitive schedule following their best season in program history. In 2011, Hartford, which closed out the season ranked 19th in the national polls, finished with an 11-7 overall record including the program's first-ever America East Tournament title and first-ever NCAA Tournament bid.
On February 18, Hartford opens its 2012 campaign with a first-ever meeting with the Maryland Terrapins in College Park, arguably the strongest opponent a Hawks' team has faced in program history. Last season, first-year head coach John Tillman and his unseeded Terrapins made a run to the NCAA title game and dropped a 9-7 decision to seventh-seeded Virginia.
The Hawks will open their home schedule on February 25 when they welcome the Holy Cross Crusaders to Al-Marzook Field. Last season, the squad found success on its home turf, posting a 5-3 record overall.
After the home opener, Hartford hits the road for a three-game road stretch, kicking-off with a trip to Colorado to face the reigning ECAC champion and 2011 Final Four squad Denver. The two teams are set to battle on March 3, marking the second meeting between the Hawks and Pioneers. The Hawks will then travel to Providence on March 7 for a tilt with Ivy League rival Brown before taking on the Massachusetts Minutemen, runners-up in the Colonial Athletic Association, in Amherst on March 10.
Next, the Hawks host two-straight non-conference home games at Alumni Stadium, beginning with perennial MAAC power and 2011 NCAA tournament participant Siena (March 14) and Quinnipiac (March 17).The Hawks took the Saints down to the wire last year, dropping a narrow 10-9 decision in Loudonville and pulled out a thrilling, 10-9 overtime victory over the Bobcats in Hamden one year ago.
Following the home stand, Hartford pays a visit to fellow Nutmeg State rival Sacred Heart on March 21 before closing out the non-conference portion of its schedule on March 24 with a home date against Wagner.
America East play begins on March 31 when the Hawks travel to Baltimore to take on the UMBC Retrievers. The squad will look to continue its recent success against the conference-foe as it has posted four-straight defeats of UMBC, including a semifinal victory on May 4 on the turf of Al-Marzook Field. Hartford's final regular season road tilt will be a rematch of last year's conference tournament title game when the Hawks revisit La Valle Stadium to face the Stony Brook Seawolves on April 21.
Hartford welcomes the Albany Great Danes to West Hartford on April 8 before taking on Binghamton on April 14 for the first of two contests played under the lights of Alumni Stadium. The Hawks will then host the Vermont Catamounts in their 2012 regular season home finale on April 28.
The top-four regular season finishers will qualify for the America East Tournament which kicks off with the semifinals on May 2 and concludes with the championship game on May 5.
The Hawks return 30 student-athletes and more than 88-percent of its goal production from the 2011 campaign. USILA All-American Carter Bender as well as America East First Team selections Aidan Genik, an attackman, and goalkeeper Scott Bement standout as the Hawks' top returners in 2012. Ten newcomers were welcomed to Hartford's roster in the fall, a class that is headlined by nine high school standouts and a two-time NJCAA Academic All-American honoree.
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