PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania men's lacrosse program has announced its 2012 schedule. The Quakers will play 13 games including six at home -- where they went undefeated last year -- and cap the regular season with a game against defending NCAA champion and preseason No. 1 Virginia at Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colo.
You could argue that Penn's slate is the most daunting in the country, at least on paper. Nine of the Red and Blue's games will come against teams that were picked in the USILA National Coaches preseason Top 20 -- six against Top 11 picks (including No. 1 and No. 2) and three against teams in the 13-18 range. The Quakers are picked 16th in the preseason coaches' poll.
For the third time in his three years at Penn, Head Coach Mike Murphy will open the season by facing off against his alma mater, preseason No. 2 Duke. Last year, of course, the Quakers defeated the Blue Devils at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, and that catapulted the Red and Blue to an 8-7 season that ended with them receiving their first NCAA Championship bid since 2006. This year's meeting will take place Friday, Feb. 24 in Durham, N.C.
Penn returns home to face Lehigh on Tuesday, Feb. 28, then takes a full week off before hosting preseason No. 6 University of North Carolina at Franklin Field. The three-game homestand concludes Saturday, March 10, when the Quakers host preseason No. 11 Villanova on Alumni Day at Franklin Field.
Penn opens the Ivy League portion of the campaign on Saturday, March 17, at preseason No. 17 Princeton, the start of six straight Saturdays of Ivy action for the Quakers. Defending Ivy champion Cornell -- ranked fifth in the USILA preseason poll -- comes to Franklin Field on March 24, then the Quakers go to preseason No. 18 Yale on March 31 before hosting Brown on April 7.
The Quakers go out of conference the middle of the next two weeks. On Tuesday, April 10, Penn is at preseason No. 10 Bucknell, before they come home to host 13th-ranked Harvard on Saturday, April 14. The next week, Penn is at Saint Joseph's on Tuesday, April 17, before they close out Ivy play that Saturday at Dartmouth.
The regular season ends on Friday, April 27, when the Quakers meet the top-ranked Cavaliers at Sports Authority Field in Denver to kick off the Mile High Classic sponsored by Inside Lacrosse. That game is part of a doubleheader, with Duke and Denver facing off in the other contest.
The Ivy League Tournament will take place at the regular-season champion's field the next weekend, with the semifinals on Friday, May 4 and the final on Sunday, May 6.
2012 Penn Men's Lacrosse Schedule
Day, Date ... Opponent, Time
Friday, Feb. 24 ... at Duke, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 28 ... LEHIGH, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 6 ... UNC, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 10 ... VILLANOVA, 3 p.m. (Alumni Day)
Saturday, March 17 ... at Princeton*, 3 p.m.
Saturday, March 24 ... CORNELL*, 1 p.m.
Saturday, March 31 ... at Yale*, 1 p.m.
Saturday, April 7 ... BROWN*, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, April 10 ... at Bucknell, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 14 ... HARVARD*, noon
Tuesday, April 17 ... at Saint Joseph's, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 21 ... at Dartmouth*, 1 p.m.
Friday, April 27 ... Virginia, 5:30 p.m. (at Sports Authority Field, Denver, Colo.)
Friday, May 4 ... Ivy Tournament semifinals
Sunday, May 6 ... Ivy Tournament final