Notre Dame Announces 2012 Lacrosse Schedule

NOTRE DAME, Ind. University of Notre Dame has announced its 2012 spring schedule. The Fighting Irish have 12 regular-season contests on the slate beginning Feb. 18 with a home date against Duke.

Seven of the teams on NotreDame's schedule appear in the Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook preseason coaches poll. Duke (#2), Denver (#5), Syracuse (#7) and Villanova (#10) join the ninth-ranked Fighting Irish in the top 10. Hofstra (#11), Drexel (#17) and Penn State (#20) also are Irish opponents listed in the rankings.

Prior to the lid-lifter versus Duke, Notre Dame will play three exhibition contests. The Fighting Irish will travel to Orlando, Fla., in late January to face Jacksonville (Jan. 27) and the U.S. National Team (Jan. 28). The contest against the U.S. National Team will be part of the Champion Challenge at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Irish also faced the U.S. National Team last January in the Champion Challenge. Notre Dame will play host to RobertMorris on Feb. 5 in exhibition play.

"Playing the U.S.National Team gives us the chance to go down to Florida and play against high-caliber players," says Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. "It's good competition for us early in the season before we open our season on Feb. 18. It's also an exciting opportunity for our players."

The season opener will be Duke's first-ever visit to Notre Dame. The game will be a rematch of last season's NCAA Tournament quarterfinal showdown that the Blue Devils won, 7-5, in Foxboro, Mass. This will be the third straight season that Notre Dame has opened its campaign versus Duke. The Irish have won the past two season-openers against the Blue Devils.

Following the Duke contest, the Irish will welcome in annual rival Penn State on Feb. 26. Notre Dame's first road contest will take place at Drexel on March 3 and the Irish will then play at Hofstra on March 10. The Fighting Irish have faced Drexel in each of the past two seasons, but this will be the first showdownwith Hofstra since the 2006 campaign.

Notre Dame returns home for a clash with Denver on March 17. The Irish will conclude the non-conference portion of their slate March 21 at Ohio State. Notre Dame has old-standing rivalries with both the Pioneers and Buckeyes that goes back to when all three programs were members of the Great Western Lacrosse League.

The Fighting Irish open the third season of Big East Conference play March 25 with a home tilt against Rutgers. Notre Dame's league showdown versus St. John's on April 1 will be part of the Big City Classic at MetLife Stadium, which is home to the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. The game will be the first part of a tripleheader. Duke and Syracuse will meet in the day's second game, while North Carolina and Johns Hopkins will square off in the third and final contest.

The Irish will play host to Providence April 7 before road trips take them to Georgetown (April 15) and Villanova (April 21). Notre Dame closes out regular-season play April 28 at home against Syracuse.

Villanova will host the inaugural Big East Men's Lacrosse Tournament. The semifinals will be played May 3 and the final is slated for May 5.

"This schedule is very similar to the one we've had the last couple of seasons," adds Corrigan. "This is a high-level schedule. We start with a great Duke team and end with a great Syracuse team and have a lot of good competition in between. We're also looking forward to another season of Big East lacrosse."

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