PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania's head coach of men's lacrosse, Mike Murphy, has announced the Quakers' 2011 schedule. And how tough is it? Out of their 13 regular-season games, the Quakers will face 10 squads that made the LaxNews preseason Top 25. That includes No. 1 Virginia, No. 2 North Carolina, No. 5 Princeton, No. 7 Cornell and No. 9 Duke.
"We are very excited about our 2011 schedule," said Murphy, who enters his second season with the Penn program. "It is great to be able to open our season with the defending national champions in Duke and to play top teams from the Philadelphia area, the Patriot League, and the ACC, along with our regular season Ivy slate. Penn is a world-class institution, and we are working to build a program that reflects that. We have set lofty goals, and we have a schedule that will allow us to attain them."
As Coach Murphy mentioned, Penn will open up with the defending NCAA champion (and Murphy's alma mater), Duke, on Saturday, Feb. 26 at Franklin Field. The Quakers and ninth-ranked Blue Devils will square off at noon. That next week will see a pair of Patriot League teams come to town, as Bucknell comes in for a midweek meeting and Lafayette arrives under the Friday night lights of Franklin Field.
Penn's first road game is a huge test, as the Quakers face the second-ranked Tar Heels in Chapel Hill on Tuesday, March 8. That Saturday, the Quakers return from spring break and hit the Main Line to face Villanova.
The Ivy League season starts a week later, when preseason No. 5 Princeton comes to town for a 3 p.m. start. The following Saturday, Penn is at Cornell for a 1 p.m. faceoff. Yale is at Franklin Field on Friday, April 1 for a 7 p.m. start, and then the Quakers are on the road the next two weekends at Brown (April 9) and Harvard (April 16). The matchup with the Crimson will pit Murphy against his lead assistant from a year ago, Chris Wojcik.
Penn takes a brief respite from Ivy play on Wednesday, April 20, making the drive to Hawk Hill to face Saint Joseph's, before closing out conference action with Dartmouth at Franklin Field. Penn will conclude the regular season at preseason No. 1 Virginia, which lost to Duke in an epic NCAA semifinal a year ago.
If Penn finishes in the top four of the Ivy League regular-season standings, the Quakers will advance to the second annual Ivy League Tournament which will determine the conference's automatic qualifier for the NCAA Championship. The semifinals will be played on Friday, May 6, with the final two days later. All of those games will take place on the campus of the regular-season champion.
2011 PENN MEN'S LACROSSE SCHEDULE
Day, Date ... Opponent, Time
Saturday, Feb. 26 ... DUKE, noon
Tuesday, March 1 ... BUCKNELL, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 4 ... LAFAYETTE, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 8 ... at North Carolina, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 12 ... at Villanova, 1 p.m.
Saturday, March 19 ... PRINCETON, 3 p.m.
Saturday, March 26 ... at Cornell, 1 p.m.
Friday, April 1 ... YALE, 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 9 ... at Brown, 1 p.m.
Saturday, April 16 ... at Harvard, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, April 20 ... at Saint Joseph's, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 23 ... DARTMOUTH, 1 p.m.
Saturday, April 30 ... at Virginia, 3 p.m.
Friday, May 6 ... Ivy League Tournament semifinals
Sunday, May 8 ... Ivy League Tournament final