JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The fall practice season has ended and the Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse team is anxiously awaiting the beginning of Atlantic Sun play in 2014. The team released its schedule for the upcoming season on Wednesday, which features five conference clashes in the A-Sun that will help decide the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Dolphins will be tested immediately to open the season, going on the road to face defending national champions Duke in the first game of 2014. The Blue Devils and Dolphins will meet on Feb. 8 in Durham, N.C.
The schedule doesn’t get much easier as Jacksonville returns to the First Coast on Feb. 16 for the Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic. In a doubleheader that will air live on NBCSN, the Dolphins meet Notre Dame – a NCAA quarterfinalist last season – in the first matchup of the night. Later on, Ohio State and UMass will wrap up the event at EverBank Field.
Jacksonville closes out the month of February with a home game at D.B. Milne Field against Bellarmine, an affiliate member of the Atlantic Sun beginning next season, on February 22. On March 1, Atlantic Sun play officially begins as JU goes on the road to face High Point.
Returning home, Jacksonville plays consecutive non-conference games against Marquette (March 8) and Air Force (March 15) before hitting the road for two more. On March 22, the Dolphins make their longest road trip of the season when they go north to take on Robert Morris. A week later on March 29, JU and Ohio State battle in a rematch from last year’s Moe’s Classic, this time in Columbus.
The month of April will see Jacksonville facing four straight A-Sun games. The stretch run opens at D.B. Milne Field on Apr. 5 with VMI. A week later on Apr. 12, the Dolphins host Mercer on Senior Day to close out the home schedule. The last regular season road game are on Apr. 20 at Richmond and Apr. 26 at Furman.
The regular season champion earns the right to host the inaugural Atlantic Sun Tournament with the semifinals being held on May 1 and the championship scheduled for May 3. The winner will receive the A-Sun’s automatic bid into the newly-expanded 18-team field for this year’s NCAA Tournament.
"This is a very challenging schedule and an exciting one as well," said Head Coach Guy Van Arsdale. "With the start of the A-Sun and highly-ranked out of conference games, we will have our work cut out for us. I think the argument could be made that top to bottom, this is the most challenging schedule we have ever had here at JU."