Highlighted by visits from national power houses Syracuse and Florida, the Stetson Lacrosse team’s 2014 schedule features 13 out of 16 regular season contests at the friendly confines of the Hatters’ Athletic Training Center.
“Home games are great,” second year head coach Nicole Moore said about the healthy slate of games in DeLand. “We have a great facility and staff that creates a supportive game day atmosphere. It is our home turf and we are finding pride in the "OUR HOUSE" mentality. We have a number of fans, families, students, and the DeLand community at our games. The home games are great opportunities for both our in-state student-athletes to have their families nearby, and our out of state student-athletes to have their families come down to the Sunshine State!”
Participants in the NCAA Championship in 11 out of the last 14 seasons, and a national semifinalist a year ago, the Syracuse Orange will travel to Central Florida to play Stetson in the Hatters’ opener on Jan. 24. After a home exhibition against Tampa on Feb. 1, Stetson will continue with five straight home games before the first road contest of the season.
“It is imperative that we play high caliber opponents to improve our own game,” Moore said in regards to the challenging 2014 schedule. “You learn from playing against those that will challenge you, in every aspect. This is an important piece for the growth of our student-athletes and our program. Every game that we step onto the field, our goal is to be better, to get stronger, and to be prepared to compete for the 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship.”
Oregon (Feb. 9), Colorado (Feb. 13), in its first season of competition, and Cincinnati (Feb. 21) are among the first to challenge the Hatters in 2014. Stetson will then welcome future Atlantic Sun Conference affiliate member Old Dominion, scheduled to start A-Sun play in 2015, on Feb. 27. The Hatters end the homestand on Mar. 2 against Holy Cross.
The lone non-conference road contest on the schedule is slated for Mar. 5 at Coastal Carolina in Conway, S.C. Stetson will then return home for four more out of conference home games before beginning the A-Sun campaign.
A pair of Northeast Conference foes – Sacred Heart (Mar. 8) and Wagner (Mar. 17) – are sandwiched around Saint Joseph’s, who will take on the Hatters on Mar. 11. A Mar. 25 visit to the ATC from the Florida Gators, a team that reached the national quarterfinals in 2013, will conclude Stetson’s non-conference schedule.
“Playing programs from different regions and conferences helps us to learn to adapt to different playing styles, different tempos, and different looks to the game,” Moore said. “It also expands our team’s knowledge of the game, both in individual and team play.”
The Hatters will open A-Sun play at Kennesaw State on Apr. 5. Stetson topped the Owls 19-7 a year ago for the first victory in program history. Defending league champion and NCAA Tournament participant Jacksonville will travel to play the Hatters on Apr. 12.
Stetson’s final road game of the regular season will be a trip up to play the Titans of Detroit on Apr. 19. A new affiliate member to the A-Sun for women’s lacrosse, Elon will travel to DeLand to take on the Hatters on Apr. 25, while Howard will challenge Stetson on senior day, Apr. 27, to end the regular season.
“I have a lot of respect for the Elon coaching staff and I am excited for us to play against each other,” Moore said. “It is great to have another addition to the Atlantic Sun Conference. There is strength in numbers and it is wonderful to see the Atlantic Sun Conference grow in the game of lacrosse.”
The second ever A-Sun Tournament is scheduled for May 2 and May 4 in Jacksonville, Fla. The six conference squads will vie for the four available spots in the semifinals, a feat Stetson achieved in its first year of competition in 2013.