Bryant University released their inaugural Division I schedule today. Along with their foes in the North East Conference, Coach Mike Pressler dove right into stiff DI competition. The Bulldogs open their season against perennial powerhouse Virginia. Contests with Army, Loyola, Maryland, Penn, and Brown add additional highlights to this schedule.
From Bryant University:
SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Head coach Mike Pressler is pleased to announce the 2009 Bryant University men’s lacrosse schedule, as the Bulldogs get set to debut at the Division I level in the spring of 2009.
Bryant won’t shy away from tough, top-tier competition in its inaugural Division I season, facing off against the best of the best throughout its 2009 campaign – a schedule that includes a date with 2008 Final Four participant the University of Virginia, who the Bulldogs will open their season against on Feb. 16.
But the Cavaliers are not the only tough matchup the Bulldogs will face. A trio of Bryant’s opponents –Virginia, Loyola (Md.) and the University of Maryland – qualified for the 2008 NCAA tournament.
“There is no doubt that our transition to Division I lacrosse in the spring of 2009 will be challenging, to say the least,” said Mike Pressler, who enters his third season as Bryant’s head coach. “We just ended our Division II tenure against one of the Division’s best teams in Le Moyne College, and we open up Division I against one of the most respected programs of all time in the University of Virginia.”
The Bulldogs will host seven home games while travelling to eight road contests, all against some of the most stringent competition at the Division I level.
Bryant opens its season with four-straight road contests, including an exhibition against Pressler’s alma mater Washington & Lee University, a regular-season opener against Virginia and bouts with future Northeast Conference rival Sacred Heart University and the Ivy League’s Dartmouth College.
The Bulldogs then return to Smithfield, R.I. to host the second of three future NEC opponents in their 2009 home-opener, as Wagner College visits the Bryant Turf Complex on Sat., Feb. 28 at 1 p.m.
Bryant then takes to the road for another four away contests, where the Bulldogs will challenge Patriot League regular-season co-champion Army on March 4 before spring break contests against Mount Saint Mary’s (NEC, 2011), ECAC champion Loyola College and Maryland (ACC).
Bryant’s final road contest comes on March 28 when it travels to Lehigh University, but not until after the Bulldogs host two home matchups against the University of Detroit-Mercy (March 20) and the University of Pennsylvania (March 22).
The Bulldogs closes out their 2009 slate with four-straight home games against Brown (March 31), Presbyterian College (April 10), Bellamine University (April 18) and Holy Cross (April 22).
“With the Bulldogs unable to quality for the postseason for the next two years, we had to give our players the kind of schedule they could hang their hat on,” said Pressler, “one that would be a challenge and one they could look forward to playing.”
In its first year of transition to the Division I ranks, the Bulldogs enter the first of a two-year mandatory waiting period in 2009 that will prevent Bryant from postseason play until 2011, when it will help foster the six-team NEC Men’s Lacrosse League. The other five members include Northeast Conference core member institutions Mount St. Mary's (MAAC), Quinnipiac (GWLL), Robert Morris (CAA), Sacred Heart (CAA), and Wagner (MAAC).
In 2008, The Bulldogs went 14-4 in their final season of Division II competition, beating NCAA runner-up Le Moyne College to win the Northeast-10 Conference tournament and earn its first NCAA tournament Final Four berth.
2009 BRYANT LACROSSE SCHEDULE
Saturday, February 14 Washington & Lee University* Away TBA
Monday, February 16 University of Virginia Away 4:00pm
Sunday, February 22 Sacred Heart University Away 1:00pm
Tuesday, February 24 Dartmouth College Away 4:00pm
Saturday, February 28 Wagner College Home 1:00pm
Wednesday, March 4 US Military Academy Away 4:00pm
Sunday, March 8 Mount St Mary’s University^ Away 1:00pm
Tuesday, March 10 Loyola College^ Away 4:00pm
Sunday, March 15 University of Maryland^ Away 1:00pm
Friday, March 20 University of Detroit-Mercy Home 7:00pm
Sunday, March 22 University of Pennsylvania Home 1:00pm
Saturday, March 28 Lehigh University Away 1:00pm
Tuesday, March 31 Brown University Home 7:00pm
Friday, April 10 Presbyterian College Home 7:00pm
Saturday, April 18 Bellarmine University Home 7:00pm
Wednesday, April 22 College of the Holy Cross Home 7:00pm