The sun has started to rise on the 2013 college lacrosse season. We are roused, but not yet entirely awake; the coffee is on but, man, these sheets feel comfy and warm. Plus, pajamas will always trump slacks, unless your brain has leaked from your ears while dreaming of overhead takeaways and crease attackmen majoring in "Dip 'n dunks."
This isn't a complete awakening, though. It is merely the promise of what lies ahead. The fall is far from the epilogue but more than a foreward. It begins the narrative -- the foundation of what will emerge, a sense of the scene, and a forecast of what the future may or may not hold -- but it isn't the narrative complete. For this particular story, it forebodes the consequences of a restless hibernation; a new paradigm of what could be conflicting rules and new characters working within the regime. A set of particular moments in this season's sunrise, however, will help define the plot: structured intersquad scrimmages -- and very deep ones, for what it's worth -- are our window that shows us exposition.
Some have already started their commute toward February. (Notably, Keio University's tour of the Mid-Atlantic has given us a brief glimpse of relative strength and development.) However, most are about a week away from showing us where the plot will go. The wait is not long, but it is keeping us all painfully wrapped in anticipation:
- October 6th: Nicholas Colleluori Fall Classic (Folsom, Pennsylvania). The festival will feature Marquette, High Point, Michigan, Marist, Mount St. Mary's, Robert Morris, St. Joseph's, Hofstra, Lehigh, Colgate, and Villanova. This will be everyone's first look at the Panthers and Golden Eagles in legitimate Division I action, gauging their potential for the spring and beyond. (And also a clue as to what the schools entering in 2014 will look like.) Michigan will show us all its growth into "Year Two" with "Class One," while Villanova will have the opportunity to display whether it has the potential to run toward the top of the Big East in 2013 and if Lehigh -- the burgeoning pugilist in 2012 -- is ready to continue its ascension up the hierarchy for a title shot.
- October 6th: Play for Parkinson's (Alexandria, Virginia). A five-team, five-game exhibition featuring Air Force, Towson, Georgetown, Princeton, and Virginia. Has the culture changed at Georgetown under Kevin Warne and new assistant (and offensive savant) Matt Rewkowksi? The Tigers are in their second year under Shawn Nadelen; games against Virginia and Air Force will help show whether Towson is ready to move a little forward in a crowded THUNDERDOME! Virginia is entering a new era without the services of Steele Stanwick, and its game against Princeton -- expected to contend for the Ivy crown this year with Cornell -- will give us all a chance to see the potential that litters the Cavaliers' roster in an actual environment of competition.
- October 7th: Boiardi Foundation Capital Lacrosse Classic (Bethesda, Maryland). Four of the strongest teams entering 2013 -- Cornell, North Carolina, Penn State, and Johns Hopkins -- will play two games a piece at Landon School. The Red, without the services of Rob Pannell, will face the class of the festival, squaring off against the Tar Heels (as deep with talent as any team in the country) and Blue Jays. This may be the finest collection of coaches at any tournament this fall, and watching how they use this festival to work out the kinks should be necessary reference for any lacrosse junkie.
- October 7th: Catamount Classic -- Lacrosse for a Cure (Braintree, Massachusetts). Just a gigantic festival featuring tons of northeast schools: Providence (under new coach Chris Gabrielli), Quinnipiac, Vermont, Brown, Hartford, Hobart, Holy Cross, Siena, and Sacred Heart. If you have a heart for the beefy middle of Division I -- and you should -- this tournament is going to display all of that.