PROGRAM SCHEDULE PROPAGANDA: UNRELEASED
THIS IS WHY WE FIGHT: THE SCHEDULE
Here are some schedule highlights and games of note:
The Path Once Taken
March 7: VMI; March 21: at Jacksonville; April 4: Furman; April 11: at High Point; April 18: at Bellarmine; April 25: Mercer
Richmond has never known a lacrosse season that didn't end with a trip to the NCAA Tournament. That doesn't mean that the Spiders entered Division I lacrosse among the nation's established elite -- LaxPower ranked Richmond 56th last year; the Spiders were ranked 53rd in adjusted Pythagorean win expectation; Massey had Richmond slotted in the 53rd position; KRACH ratings had the Spiders ranked 59th -- but it does illustrate something important: The Southern Conference is a platform that allows programs that need to develop -- for whatever reasons -- access to elite opportunities to grow. What Richmond does during its league campaign is ultimately more valuable than the necks the Spiders may snap in the nonconference portion of its slate. Keeping things together in the conference -- something Richmond did last season -- is the path to making a May adventure a reality (or, at a minimum, an attainable reality).
The Spiders' Southern Conference schedule lines up pretty well, although it is backloaded with difficult dates (two of which will require Richmond to compete on the road). The team's league push is relatively uninterrupted, allowing the team to focus on its direct goals while also earning six-day breaks -- in general -- between their conference competition dates. There is nothing guaranteed in the Southern Conference in 2015, and the Spiders will need to adopt an apex predator's mentality to move through the most important part of its season.
March 14: North Carolina; March 28: at Virginia
"These wings aren't too spicy . . . Well, I mean, it burns your lips a little . . . [wipes brow] [shakes head] It gets you on the back-end . . . MILK! NOW! . . . Were these coated in a police officer's pepper spray?! . . . You better call an ambulance . . . I'm going to pay for this tomorrow. . . ."
Ready . . . Go!
February 7: St. Joseph's; February 14: Rutgers; February 22: Marquette; February 28: UMBC
This isn't an overly hectic February for Richmond: The team will play four weekend dates in college lacrosse's first month, about average given schedules that have been made available publicly. What's difficult about this opening salvo from the Spiders is that these dates aren't gimmies: St. Joseph's is quietly lurking as a dangerous top 30 team in 2015; Rutgers gives teams all kinds of problems with Joe Nardella at the dot; Joe Amplo has the Golden Eagles steaming in the right direction and his team plays as tough as any in the country; and UMBC is an established entity that beat the Spiders by nine last season. The names of those opponents don't carry the same kind of weight as Virginia and North Carolina, but they are challenging opportunities for a program that has only existed for, like, 60 seconds.