SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo men's lacrosse team and head coach Brad Jorgensen are excited to announce a slate full of first-time opponents and NCAA Tournament qualifiers for the 2017 season.
"Our approach has always been to schedule the best possible competition both regionally and nationally," Jorgensen said of the slate he has set. "With three NCAA tournament teams in Limestone, LIU-Post, and Tampa, on the schedule and playing in the best conference in Division II, we have accomplished that."
The Lions will play five opponents for the first time in 2017, including Chowan, Westminster (Utah) Alabama-Huntsville, North Greenville, and Young Harris.
Saint Leo will also play four opponents who finished 2016 in the top 25, three of which competed in the NCAA Tournament. They will challenge Limestone, who was the 2016 National Runners-up but No. 1 in the USILA poll, along with No. 5 LIU-Post, a NCAA North Region Quarterfinalist, and in conference play, the Lions will face No. 6 Tampa, a NCAA South Region Semifinalist, and No. 18 Rollins. Also, every game slated for Saint Leo will count as a South Region match-up, except the game with LIU-Post, who is in the North Region.
The Lions open with LIU-Post at home on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m., and then remain home as they take on Chowan on Feb. 11 in an afternoon match at 1 p.m.
Saint Leo then hits the road for a three-game road stand, heading to Hartsville, S.C., to take on Coker on Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. They then head to Gaffney, S.C., for a road battle with the No. 1 team in the South Region, Limestone, on March 4 at 1 p.m. The Lions continue their road trip with a March 6 match-up at Emmanuel in Franklin Springs, Ga., at 4 p.m.
Throughout the rest of March, the Lions will host at University Turf Stadium. They open their home stand with Westminster (Utah) on March 11 at 2 p.m. Then Alabama-Huntsville comes to town on March 14 for a 7 p.m. showdown. The Lions then North Greenville just two days later at 7 p.m. On March 20, the Lions host Adams State at 7 p.m., and on March 25, Saint Leo will host Young Harris in a mid-day Noon game. The squad will close out March with a match on 28th to open Sunshine State Conference play by hosting Florida Southern at 7 p.m.
Conference play continues into April as the Lions head to Winter Park, Fla., to take on Rollins on April 1. The time for the game with the Tars is still to be determined. On April 8, Saint Leo return home to host Florida Tech in a 1 p.m. game. The Lions then return to the road when they head to Boca Raton, Fla., to take on Lynn on April 15 at 2 p.m. Saint Leo closes out the 2017 regular season at home with a showdown with the 2016 No. 2 team in the South Region in Tampa on April 22 at 2 p.m.
The Sunshine State Conference Tournament will take place on April 28 and 30 at the site of the No. 1 seed from the regular season.
The Lions will look to take on the challenge in 2017 as they have to replace a senior class that contributed to 71.7-percent of the goals scored in 2016, along with 62.1-percent of the assists. The 2016 seniors also tallied 82.6-percent of the face-offs taken, and every game was started with a senior in goal.
"We will definitely be looking different this year after graduating such a large group of seniors. While they will be missed, I think we have put together a great group for this year, and that they will rise to the challenging schedule we have put together."
For more information on the Saint Leo men's lacrosse program, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.