Lehigh 2013 Lacrosse Schedule Features Four Top 15 Teams

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Smith Family Head Lacrosse Coach Kevin Cassese announced the Mountain Hawks' 2013 schedule on Thursday, which features four teams who finished in the top 15 of last season's final Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. Lehigh will play 14 regular season games, seven at home, five on the road and two at neutral sites, as the Mountain Hawks will face Denver, UMass and Colgate who all advanced to the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

"I am excited about the overall strength and general makeup of the spring schedule and look forward to playing some very familiar opponents and three new teams during the 2013 season," said Cassese.

Highlighting the new teams on the schedule are UMass, Denver and Air Force, as the Minutemen were as high as #1 in the national polls last season while the Pioneers fell just shy of their second straight Final Four appearance.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to take part in the Pioneer Face-Off Classic when we'll travel out to Colorado to play games vs. the University of Denver and the Air Force Academy in consecutive days," said Cassese. "We are also excited to add the University of Massachusetts to our schedule as a home game in 2013."

UMass will visit the Ulrich Sports Complex on Tuesday, Mar. 19; the Minutemen finished last season 10th in the final national poll and return Tewaaraton Award Finalist Will Manny. UMass posted a 15-1 record out of the CAA. The other three top-15 finishers were Denver (sixth), Colgate (eighth) and Penn State (15th).

Lehigh will kick off its season by hosting former assistant coach Taylor Wray and his Saint Joseph's Hawks on Feb. 9 at 1:00 p.m. The Mountain Hawks opened the 2012 season with an 11-4 win over Saint Joe's and hold an 11-2 record in the all-time series. Saint Joseph's did close out last season with a bang, winning its final three games highlighted by a 6-3 win over CAA Tournament participant Towson.

The following Saturday, Lehigh will head to Villanova to face the always-challenging Wildcats, who made the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and barely missed the cut last season. The Mountain Hawks will look to avenge two straight defeat to Villanova; they lost a slim 9-8 final the last time they were at Villanova Stadium.

The Mountain Hawks will play their second straight road game when they travel to Denver to take part in the Pioneer Face-Off Classic. Lehigh will play host Denver on Saturday, Feb. 23 before facing another ECAC foe (Air Force) the following day. The Pioneers made their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance under head coach Bill Tierney last year, narrowly missing their second straight Final Four appearance, falling 10-9 in the Quarterfinals to eventual National Champion Loyola.

Lehigh returns home to host VMI on Saturday, Mar. 2 before welcoming Penn just three days later. The Quakers are coming off a tough 2012 season, but advanced to the NCAA Tournament just two years ago. The Mountain Hawks defeated the Quakers, 10-4, last year, in the first meeting between the two sides since 2007.

The Mountain Hawks will then play Penn State at a neutral site (to be announced) on Saturday, Mar. 9. The Nittany Lions narrowly missed the NCAA Tournament last season, finishing 9-6 which featured a big win over Denver. Penn State was 15th in the final Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll.

Lehigh opens league play on Mar. 16 at Army in a rematch of last year's Patriot League Semifinal before returning home for its final nonleague match-up vs. UMass on Tuesday, Mar. 19.

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