Black Knights' 2013 Schedule Features Syracuse and Hopkins

WEST POINT, N.Y. Six home games, contests against five teams that ended the 2012 season ranked in the top 20, and a trip to Miami, Fla., highlight the 2013 Army lacrosse schedule, officially released on Tuesday morning. Traditionally known for playing one of the toughest non-conference slates in the country, the Black Knights will once again face perennial powerhouses Syracuse and Johns Hopkins this spring.

In addition to the Orange and Blue Jays, Army is slated to square-off with Massachusetts in a road season opener on Feb. 9, while also facing Lehigh and Bucknell at home during its Patriot League schedule. All five teams were ranked in the final top 20 of both national polls last May.

"Our focus remains on the conference schedule as a pathway to get us into the NCAA Tournament," said head coach Joe Alberici, who enters his eighth season as Army's mentor. "As you look up and down the Patriot League, it's never been a stronger conference than it is right now. We supplement that with as aggressive of a non-conference schedule as almost anybody in the country. Johns Hopkins, Syracuse and UMass are some outstanding teams and will be a great test for our guys. Games like those will only make us better.

"I know our guys are excited and motivated to be playing at the highest level and have that competition be from the highest level," Alberici added. "We have a lot of work to do to make those things victories, but that's where our focus will be."

Army ushers in the 2013 campaign earlier than ever as a Feb. 9 meeting with the Minutemen in Amherst, Mass., awaits. The Black Knights return to Michie Stadium for their next two games, welcoming Manhattan (Feb. 13) and rival VMI (Feb. 16) to town for back-to-back games for the second year in a row.

The team makes its 10th-straight regular season trip to the Carrier Dome to take on Syracuse on Sunday, Feb. 24, for a 2:00 p.m. start. The Black Knights defeated the Orange in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament but have dropped the last two contests by a combined three goals.

The following Saturday, the Black Knights will face Michigan for the first time. The neutral site game will be played at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla., at a time still to be determined. The Wolverines enter their first season as a Division I program in 2013.

"We've added Michigan and are playing them in pro stadium down in Miami," Alberici said. "It will be exciting to play an upstart program like that."

Army's final tune-up before opening the Patriot League portion of its schedule will be on Saturday, March 9, at Rutgers.

The Black Knights open the Patriot League schedule with a pair of Saturday home dates against defending champion Lehigh and Lafayette on March 16 and 23, respectively. Army will then visit Colgate to close out the month on March 30, before returning home to take on Bucknell on April 6.

Next on the docket is the 92nd meeting between archrivals Army and Navy in Annapolis, Md. The Black Knights enter the contest riding a five-game win streak over the Mids, marking the program's longest win streak in a series that dates back to 1924. Face-off time from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium is to be determined.

Army closes out the Patriot League regular season with a trip to Holy Cross on Saturday, April 20. The 2013 Patriot League Tournament will be played at the site of the highest seed on April 26 (semifinals) and 28 (championship) with the winner claiming an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

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