Siena has one -- one! -- regular season MAAC loss in the last four seasons -- a 13-11 defeat at the hands of Detroit in 2010. The Saints, despite losing in brain-leaking fashion to Canisius in the MAAC Tournament last year, have been the class and power of the conference without real peer. This is still a program that is a cut below the top-third of the country, but it's squarely in the top half (which isn't bad for a Siena team that, due to its league affiliation, needs to play a fairly soft schedule outside the majority of eyes in the country). This isn't necessarily a program on the move in either direction; John Svec has picked up where Brian Brecht left off and just kind of takes care of business.
For 2013, the Saints aren't departing too much from their scheduling methodology from prior years: There's a big name or two, a tour of New York programs, and the usual MAAC slate. It's not under- or over-challenging; it just sits right in the pocket for Siena, perfect for a Saints team looking to navigate the landscape without Bryan Neufeld and Tom Morr.
February 8: @ Johns Hopkins; March 26: @ Cornell
Despite being among the stronger under-elites in the country over the last few seasons, Siena hasn't grabbed that eye-bulging win that makes you appear to be an extra in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The record against Johns Hopkins is perfect since 2010 -- 0-3, although the Saints kept the margin relatively close in 2010 and 2012 -- and against other teams in LaxPower's top 10 Siena hasn't fared much better: Losses to number one Syracuse (4-10) and number six Duke (6-20) in 2011 and a 21-14 defeat at the hands of number eight Stony Brook in 2010. Moving from the shadows of college lacrosse to the light of day usually takes getting a win against a super team, and the Saints haven't been able to do that during this decade.
I don't think that this iteration of Siena is particularly well suited to knock off the Blue Jays or the Big Red this season, but if they do it'd be a big swing in where the program is and where it needs to go to generate some juice as to the team's momentum. These games aren't "must-wins," but are important opportunities to establish Siena as more than just the MAAC's -- the Honda Accord of Division I lacrosse conferences -- most dominant program.
The Most New York Schedule Ever
February 17: Hobart; February 23: Binghamton; March 2: St. John's; March 5: @ Stony Brook; March 26: Cornell; March 30: Manhattan; April 6: @ Canisius; April 20: @ Marist; April 23: Albany
Not counting Siena, there are 14 Division I lacrosse programs that call New York home; the Saints are playing nine of them in 2013. As a member of a league, it's not possible for Siena to play an entire schedule featuring teams from the Empire State, but the Saints did just about everything in their power to make their schedule as New York as possible: It's downstate, city, upstate, western, and central all rolled into three months of play. This schedule should mandate that all post-game pizza be eaten in the traditional New York-folded fashion.
Which begs the question: Why put Hopkins, Hartford, and Providence on the non-conference portion of the slate when Wagner, Syracuse, Hofstra, Colgate, and Army are still hanging around New York, providing extra opportunities to travel the New York Thruway and look at absolutely nothing for miles and miles? It's like going against the New York family to put some New England schools on the schedule; Siena may sleep with the disgusting fishes in the Hudson River or Erie Canal for these sins. There's a real chance that Siena could have played 86 percent of its possible New York State frenemies if had really put its mind to it. I demand this -- and nothing less -- from the Saints in 2014.
If This Man Should Fall
April 6: @ Canisius; April 13: Detroit; April 20: @ Marist
If Siena is going to lose a regular season MAAC game this year, the defeat will likely come from this group. Canisius and Marist are more likely than Detroit to drop the Saints, but the Titans do have some sneaky parts that, if everything falls right, could allow Detroit to drop Siena in Loudonville. I'm not saying that the Saints will lose one (or more) of these games; all I'm saying is that if Siena will lose a game this year, I'd be surprised if the loss didn't come out of this group.