Item: With pre-season scrimmages just 20 days away, the initial ACC lax season’s overall schedule also has a unique “New York State of Mind.”
Other than the fresh five ACC games in the inaugural season for the 2014 Syracuse lacrosse team, in what will likely end up being an amazingly close and competitive margin from teams one through six, and besides the annual matchup with fellow modern era NCAA blueblood Johns Hopkins (the teams have met every season since 1985), the remaining seven games on the recently released 2014 lax schedule are against teams from New York State, six of which are within a 145 mile radius of the Carrier Dome.
Siena and Albany open the season in Dome games followed by the ACC opener at home against Maryland, and the first road game at Virginia all before March 1.
For the first time since the 1920s, an Orange lax squad will compete in the state of Georgia, a burgeoning region of high school talent in and around the large Atlanta metro area. One time SU standout attack Liam Banks (1999, 2000-03), a leader in the region’s club circuit, worked to bring John Desko and the Orange down south, a fertile recruiting region, to meet St. John’s in a game to be played at the Kennesaw State University football stadium.
Besides dueling Hopkins in Baltimore March 15, there’s also the much anticipated meeting with NCAA championship game opponent Duke in Durham March 23, the teams meeting for a third straight season. SU edged the Blue Devils by one first place point to be anointed as the league’s pre-season favorite in the coaches’ poll.
The annual Cornell game (April 8) remains during the week, but the Hobart game moves from a weekday to a Saturday (April 19) in Geneva. The ‘Cuse also faces Binghamton that month (April 2).
Unlike the Big East during its four year run and other leagues, the ACC contests its conference tournament the second-to-last week of the regular season, allowing its likely tournament-bound teams to end the season with a tune-up game before the tourney gets underway.
After hopefully qualifying for the four team tournament being contested this year at PPL Park outside of Philadelphia (Chester, Pa.), home of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union, SU will wrap its regular season at home with what it hopes will be a final tune-up before NCAA play against Colgate (May 3).
One annual opponent that is a victim of the new schedule is Princeton, a yearly regular season foe since 1998 (the final year Roy Simmons, Jr. manned the sidelines), but such is life with a move to a more competitive ACC and the correlating need to balance out the schedule with lesser non-conference opponents.