Here are some schedule highlights and games of note:
March 14: Quinnipiac; March 21: at Monmouth; March 28: at Canisius; April 11: Manhattan; April 18: Detroit; April 25: at Marist
Siena has lost three MAAC regular season games in the last five years. Three. The team's winning percentage over that period in regular season MAAC competition is a stunning 90.63 percent, a mark that illustrates the Saints' complete and utter dominance of its peers prior to the start of the MAAC Tournament. The closest mark among current MAAC members to Siena's 29-3 record in regular season affairs is Marist's 20-12 effort, one that yields only a 62.50 winning percentage. Yet, when Siena has pivoted to postseason competition in the MAAC, the Saints have struggled to finish the drill: Siena has earned the MAAC's automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament just twice since 2010 -- in 2014 and 2011 -- despite playing in every single MAAC Tournament championship game in the last five years and entering as the one-seed in four of the last five seasons. (The Saints' losses in the MAAC Tournament title game have been heartbreaking: The team's three losses have come by a total of three goals.)
The Saints are still in the process of consistently translating their regular season dominance into postseason prominence. The Saints need to finish the drill in the MAAC in order to secure a May adventure for a program that has done everything necessary over the last five seasons to feature more frequently in college lacrosse's premier event.
Two Hours 'That Way'
February 8: at Syracuse
The Orange and Saints have met three times -- in 2009, 2011, and 2014 (the first two meetings were in the NCAA Tournament). Syracuse has outscored Siena 40-15 in the three meetings with an average margin of victory of over eight goals per game. Further complicating matters for the Saints is this: The Orange are 5-0 all time against MAAC competition (including the three meetings with the Saints), outscoring those opponents 77-23 with an average margin of victory of over 10 goals per game. This doesn't look like a "Well, but if this happens . . . " type of game, regardless of how dangerous the Saints are as a program.
February 8: at Syracuse; February 15: Hobart; February 21: at Massachusetts-Lowell; February 24: at Mercer; February 28: St. John's; March 7: at Robert Morris; March 31: Hartford; April 21: Albany
This is why a sustained effort in the MAAC is so important for the Saints: This isn't a nonconference schedule that shuttles a team into the NCAA Tournament (short of, you know, running the table). The average LaxPower ranking of these teams in 2014 -- excluding Massachusetts-Lowell -- was 36, a mark that leaves Siena's nonconference slate right in the middle of the nation. "Meh" doesn't create "Wowzie kazowie," which is why the Saints' MAAC campaign means so much for a strong middle-tier program.