|There will be a lot of firsts for the Stetson University women’s lacrosse program this spring. The Hatters will play their first season under head coach Nicole Moore and will face a challenging slate of games.
The schedule includes 10 home games at the new Athletics Training Center on campus, a trip to California for a pair of games and a game at the University of Florida, a 2012 Final Four participant.
The Hatters will open the season by playing an exhibition game in the 2013 Champions Challenge at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney. Stetson will be joined in that event by the two teams that played for the national title last spring (Northwestern and Syracuse) as well as the national teams from the United States and England.
The Hatters will face the Haudenosausee National Team from the Iroquois Nation on Saturday, January 26.
“It is a tremendous honor for us to be invited to play in the Champions Challenge in our first year of play,” Moore said. “We are also excited about having 10 home games in the first regular season schedule in program history.”
The Hatters will make their home debut, and open a seven-game home stand, on February 10 when they host Liberty in non-conference play. That game will be followed by home games against San Diego State, UC Davis, William & Mary, Presbyterian, Campbell and Bryant.
The stretch of home games will end when the Hatters travel to Gainesville on March 19 to face Florida.
Following the game against the Gators, Stetson will return home on March 21 to face Marist before heading to California for a pair of games. The Hatters will face St. Mary’s on March 29 before playing California on April 1.
The Hatters will close the year with four consecutive Atlantic Sun Conference games, starting at league favorite Jacksonville on April 6. Stetson will host A-Sun members Detroit Mercy and Kennesaw State before closing the regular season at Howard on April 19.
“It is a competitive schedule for a first year program but we are going after it,” Moore said. “It is imperative to match up to opposing talent that will challenge us and give us the opportunities to be successful.”
The inaugural Atlantic Sun Conference tournament will be played in Jacksonville from April 26-28. The league, which has just five members for 2013, will add Elon in 2014 with Furman and Mercer set to join in 2015.
“This spring our program will see some very different looks from teams from seven different conferences, ranging from the Northeast Region to the West Region,” Moore said. “It is a good balance of new programs (Campbell and Kennesaw State) and programs that have been established. Bottom line, it will be great to get the team out competing and going after our goals."