Boston, MA – The Northeastern University Men’s Lacrosse team, that finished 2007 with an 18-3 record, has released their 2008 schedule. This year’s team will be looking to improve upon last year’s success, becoming the first Pioneer Collegiate Lacrosse League team to ever make it into the quarterfinal round of the national tournament and narrowly missed the final four, and come home with a national championship.
On the 2008 schedule are five teams who are ranked in the Top 25 pre-season poll, as well as the University of Montana, the 2007 Division B National Champion, now playing in Division 1.
The season starts off with a spring break trip to California, where the Huskies will open up on Sunday, Mar. 2 against Western Collegiate Lacrosse League Central opponent Stanford University. This will be the first time these two teams ever meet.
From there, Northeastern will travel a bit south to finish out their trip. On Mar. 4 is a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal game against #3 University of California-Santa Barbara. The Gauchos defeated Northeastern 8-7 in OT, ending the Huskies 2007 season. After the Gauchos, NU will play #15 Chapman University and #22 Cal Poly on consecutive nights, Mar. 7 and 8.
“We always look forward to our Spring Break trips. We try to make them a fun and competitive experience from which the team can grow,” says Head Coach Tim Gray. “None of these games are going to be easy, most of the teams will have a few games under their belt, and we’ll just be starting to get going, but it should prepare us well for our league games later in the month.”
NU then returns home where they will have a few weeks to recover while the snow melts in New England. Their first league game will be against Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass. on Tues., Mar. 25. Two days later, Northeastern plays another WCLL team as they host the Aggies of University of California-Davis. Northeastern will finish up the week as they host rival University of New Hampshire. UNH and NU have played each other in the past three PCLL playoffs, with NU coming out on top each year.
The Huskies will then hit the road again for a quick trip to Long Island, N.Y. where they will play a neutral field game vs. #16 Florida State University on Thursday, Apr. 3, before returning home to Boston to face Stonehill College that Sunday.
Coach Gray remarked “The FSU game will be a very exciting game. We have a few players on the roster from Long Island, as well as a ton of alumni and family in the NYC/Long Island area. There should be plenty of support there for a very difficult game.”
Northeastern hopes to have some momentum built up as they start to wrap up their season. First up is a cross-city rival at Boston University on Fri., Apr. 11 at 8:30 p.m. Games between these two teams are never friendly as bragging rights for the next year are at stake. Later that weekend, Northeastern again plays host to non-conference foe, and recent addition to Division 1, the 2007 Division 2 Champions Montana visits on Sun., Apr. 13.
Northeastern travels down to the University of Connecticut that Friday night before ending their regular season with two home games. First up is the Rams of the University of Rhode Island on Sun., Apr. 20 before NU hosts their biggest rival #7 Boston College. BC defeated NU twice last year, each game decided by a goal, and wrestled the PCLL championship away. This final game of the season may have the #1 seed for the PCLL playoffs on the line and should get each team ready for a run for the PCLL championship.
“Losing to Boston College in the final four seconds of the PCLL championship game last year was probably the toughest loss I’ve ever had. It was a hard fought battle and my guys left everything on the field. Luckily we still made it to nationals,” remembers Gray. “However, the team hasn’t forgotten how they felt that Sunday and they’re looking forward to the rematch.”
Northeastern hopes to recapture the PCLL title and represent the PCLL for an unprecedented fourth year in a row on its way to a national title.
“That’s the ultimate goal. We would love to bring a national title to the East Coast” said Gray.