Mercer Releases Team's First-Ever Lacrosse Schedule

MACON, Ga. Mercer University's men's lacrosse program which begins play in the spring of 2011 has released its inaugural schedule of games. The Bears will play a pair of exhibition competitions at home, followed by 13 regular season contests.

Mercer's initial slate includes a wide-variety of opponents, headlined by a date versus the defending NCAA Division I men's lacrosse champion, Duke University. The Bears and Blue Devils will tangle in Durham, N.C. on March 13. In all, MU faces opponents from six different leagues and one independent on the 2011 schedule.

The Bears will play a pair of home exhibition matches versus Georgia Tech's club team (Jan. 30) and NCAA Division III Sewanee (Feb. 5) at Bear Field.

MU opens the regular season on the road at Ohio State University on Feb. 12 in Columbus. The Buckeyes were 7-8 in 2010 and were sixth in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).

Mercer's first-ever home game will take place on Feb. 16, as the Bears host Virginia Military Institute. VMI was 2-13 last season and play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). The Keydets will be guided by first-year head coach Brian Anken.

On Feb. 20, the Bears travel to Louisville, Ky., to face another ECAC foe in Bellarmine University. The Knights were 9-6 overall and 3-4 in the ECAC (fifth place).

Mercer returns home on Feb. 23 to welcome Jacksonville University which after playing as an independent in its first intercollegiate season in 2010 will be a member of the MAAC in 2011. (Both Mercer and JU are members of the Atlantic Sun Conference in other sports).

The Bears will then become "road warriors" for their next five games. The away skein begins on Feb. 26 at Detroit Mercy. The Titans were 3-12 overall and managed a seventh place finish in the MAAC standings.

That will be followed by a pair of Ivy League foes at Yale (March 4) and versus Dartmouth (March 6), in a match-up being played at Sacred Heart University. The Yale Bulldogs were 10-4 in 2010 and finished in a four-way logjam atop the Ivy League standings. Dartmouth was 5-8 and was fifth in last year's Ivy race.

On March 8, Mercer will face Sacred Heart on its own turf. SHU was 4-11 in 2010 and fifth in the Colonial Conference, but the Pioneers switch to the Northeast Conference in 2011. The road swing will conclude with the March 13 date at ACC nemesis Duke.

NCAA Division III foe Carthage College (Kenosha, Wis.) will come to Bear Field on March 19. A two-week break in the season will be followed by Mercer's final home bout of the year as the Air Force Academy lands in Macon on April 2. The Falcons were 1-13, grounded in last place in the ECAC in 2010.

On April 9, Childs will lead MU to some familiar territory at least for him as the team travels to Clinton, S.C. to challenge Presbyterian College. Childs started the men's lacrosse program at Presbyterian in 2006 and was its coach through 2009, until leaving to start up Mercer's program.

The season finale is on April 16 at Holy Cross in Worchester, Mass. Members of the Patriot League, Holy Cross was 5-10 overall in 2010.

MU's game at Duke will be just the fifth time in school history as an NCAA Division I member that a Bears' team will face the defending national champs in a team sport. The only other times a Mercer University team has taken on a defending national champion in head-to-head competition occurred twice each in baseball and in women's soccer. The last such confrontation took place twice for the baseball team in the 1991 season. The Bears dropped both meetings versus in-state rival and 1990 NCAA champion University of Georgia.

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