NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Headlined by matchups with both participants in last year’s NCAA Tournament Final, as well as a season-opening NCAA Quarterfinal rematch and five home games, the Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team and the Merrimack Athletic Department are excited to release the team’s 2017 schedule.
Links: 2017 Schedule
“Once again, we feel great about the composition of our schedule,” head coach Mike Morgan stated. “We have a veteran group that has demonstrated the ability to compete at the highest level on a consistent basis in order to reach the NCAA Tournament, and they’ll be challenged again by one of the toughest schedules in the country that we put together. After three tough scrimmages in the preseason, we head to Long Island three different times in the span of a month to take on some of the top teams in the region, and we’re really excited to renew our rivalry with Limestone in addition to our always-challenging NE10 slate. We’re looking forward to once again face off with some of the best lacrosse programs in the country.”
Following the program’s ninth consecutive winning season that featured a school-record 15 victories and a second straight (and third overall) trip to the NCAA Tournament Semifinals, the Warriors will be looking to advance to the national championship game for the first time in school history this spring, and have positioned themselves with one of the toughest schedules around that should prepare them for a run at that goal.
The first opponent in 2017 should be a familiar one, as Merrimack will meet reigning East Coast Conference (ECC) champion LIU Post on Long Island to kick things off on Saturday, Feb. 18. The Warriors and Pioneers met in the quarterfinal round of last year’s NCAA Tournament, one that Merrimack posted a 15-13 victory in to claim its fourth straight win in the all-time series between the two perennial contenders.
A week later, the Warriors will board the bus yet again for a weekend trip to Long Island, as Merrimack will meet Molloy College, a 10-win team from a year ago, for another challenging matchup with another ECC contender. Merrimack emerged with a four-goal win in last year’s matchup in North Andover.
The Warriors’ first home and Northeast-10 Conference game falls on Saturday, March 4, to begin a stretch of three straight games at Martone-Mejail Field. Merrimack will host Southern New Hampshire on that date before a 14-day respite. Defending conference and national champion Le Moyne heads to town for a Saturday, March 18 matchup, before the Warriors welcome Pace University a week later (March 25) to conclude the three-game stretch of home games.
Merrimack concludes the month of March with a two-game week in two locations separated by nearly six hours and over 350 miles; the Warriors first meet Saint Michael’s College for a midweek matchup on Tuesday, March 28, before traveling back to Long Island for the third time to battle rival Adelphi University on Saturday, April 1.
Following a home bout with Bentley on Wednesday, April 5, the Warriors hit the road for three straight games to face Saint Rose (April 8), Franklin Pierce (April 11) and American International College (April 15) before hosting Assumption on the final home game of the regular season on Wednesday, April 19.
Merrimack will renew its series with four-time national champion and annual power Limestone College on Saturday, April 22, at a neutral-site location yet to be determined. The Warriors and Saints last met in March of the 2014 season, as Merrimack will look for its second win in six tries against Limestone.
The regular season concludes with a Saturday (April 29) night road bout against Saint Anselm.
The 2017 NE10 Championship will once again feature the top-six teams, with the No. 1 seed and No. 2 seed earning first-round byes while the remaining four seeds battle in the league quarterfinals on Tuesday, May 2. The conference semifinals will be held on Friday, May 5, and the last two teams standing will square off in the 2017 NE10 Championship Final on Sunday, May 7, at the site of the highest remaining seed.--
Mike McMahon has covered Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune since 2006 and he also has been a senior writer at College Hockey News since 2005.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN and you can follow the site @TheMackReports.