Bryant Announces Team Schedule, Lacrosse Captains for 2013

SMITHFIELD, R.I. Head coach Mike Pressler is pleased to unveil the 2013 Bryant University men's lacrosse schedule and the Bulldogs' 2013 captains, as the team gears up to defend its Northeast Conference crown and earn the league's first-ever berth into the NCAA tournament this spring.

The Bulldogs' 16-game regular-season slate features nine home contests against opponents from five different conferences while Bryant will see competition from seven leagues throughout the 2013 campaign on the road and at home.

Familiar names speckle the early non-conference portion of the schedule, including games against programs such as Drexel (CAA), Albany (America East), Providence College (Big East) and Fairfield (ECAC) - teams that have become consistent presences on the Bulldog slates in the Division I era.

But this year's list of opponents also features new faces in Bucknell (Patriot League) and Harvard (Ivy League), programs that have risen to the top of the Division I landscape.

"We decided to play all 17 of our allotted dates in the spring season, playing one scrimmage and 16 regular-season games," said Pressler, now in his seventh year at the helm. "In addition to continuing many of the great rivalry series we've created with teams such as Drexel, Brown and Albany over the past four years, this season's slate will include two highly ranked newcomers in Bucknell and Harvard."

Even with these top-ranked additions, the most exciting aspect of the Bulldogs' regular-season schedule is still the possibilities that loom at the end of it.

"The first thing that jumps out for all six teams in the Northeast Conference is that the automatic qualifier is finally here," said Pressler. "After a two-year probation period [mandated by the NCAA after officially coming together as a conference in 2011], the winner of this year's NEC Tournament will now go to the NCAA tournament and compete for the national championship."

But to get there, the Bulldogs will have to get through an opening month that features some of the toughest competition on the entire 2013 slate.

"The month of February could not be a tougher slate for the Bryant Bulldogs, with battles against three top-15 teams to begin our season," said Pressler.

After exhibition bouts against Hartford and St. John's, Bryant opens the season at home for the first time in its Division I history Feb. 9, hosting Colgate -- one of two 2012 NCAA tournament qualifiers on this year's schedule -- for a 1:00 p.m. tilt at the Bulldog Turf Complex.

Fairfield, who finished the 2012 season ranked 15th in the USILA Coaches Poll, comes to Smithfield a week later (Feb. 16), and the Bulldogs finish off February with a trip to Bucknell (Feb. 23) to face a Bison squad that was a mainstay in the national rankings a year ago.

From there, the Black and Gold stay on the road for the first two outings of March, traveling to Burlington, Vt., for a faceoff against the Catamounts March 2 and returning to Pennsylvania March 9 to take on a Drexel side that also finished the season with a national ranking.

Bryant makes a quick stop back home March 16 to host Albany (1:00 p.m.) before playing its first of four Tuesday night rivalry games on March 19, traveling to Cambridge, Mass., to take on Harvard for the first time in program history.

"I love the Tuesday night games," said Pressler. "We have four terrific regional rivals on Tuesdays this season. We will once again take on Brown, Providence and Holy Cross in midweek contests, and now, we add Harvard to that great regional lineup."

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