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Hartford Lacrosse Schedule: Hold On

The America East Conference isn't losing much steam. What does the Hawks' league slate look like in 2015?

PROGRAM SCHEDULE PROPAGANDA: PRESS RELEASE
THIS IS WHY WE FIGHT: THE SCHEDULE

Here are some schedule highlights and games of note:

Shaky Ground
March 14: Massachusetts-Lowell; March 21: at Albany; March 28: at Binghamton; April 4: UMBC; April 18: at Vermont; April 24: Stony Brook

Hartford hasn't had a fantastic voyage through the America East over the last decade despite earning the league's automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament in 2011. In total, the Hawks have finished with a winning record against league competition just three times in the last 10 seasons, consecutive 3-2 efforts from 2011 through 2013. Contrastingly, Hartford finished with a 1-4 mark on four occasions (2007, 2009, 2010, and 2014) and went winless against the America East in three other years (2005, 2006, and 2008). Those combined efforts rank the Hawks in the bottom half of the league (based on opponents that were in the conference for all 10 seasons):

THE AMERICA EAST: 2005-2014
TEAM '10-'14 AE RECORD WINNING % RANK '05-'14 AE RECORD WINNING % RANK
Albany 16-9 64.00% 2 35-16 68.63% 2
Binghamton 10-15 40.00% 5 23-28 45.10% 4
Hartford 11-14 44.00% 4 13-38 25.49% 5
Stony Brook 18-7 72.00% 1 35-16 68.63% 2
UMBC 15-10 60.00% 3 38-13 74.51% 1
Vermont 5-20 20.00% 6 11-40 21.57% 6

The reality here for Hartford is difficult to accept: Albany isn't slowing down and Stony Brook -- while having a softer last five seasons than the half-decade that preceded it -- is still among the league's stronger programs; UMBC has come back to the pack a bit but the Retrievers still stand well above Hartford in vitality as seen through the lens of conference success; and Binghamton has been more consistent than the Hawks despite the fact that Hartford has been a game better than the Bearcats in the last five years.

It's imperative for the Hawks to establish the program as a heavy-footed conference tournament participant. Hanging around the edges of the America East's postseason cut-off point invites danger, and after a 1-4 effort in the conference in 2014, the Hawks need a solid 2015 to show that the team's push from 2011 through 2013 was more than an illusion.

See You Never!
January 31: St. John's (exhibition); March 14: Massachusetts-Lowell

Neither Dartmouth or Richmond were frequent faces on Hartford's schedule -- the Hawks and Green have met only eight times while the Hawks and Spiders have met all of once -- but it's still interesting to see both programs jettisoned from Hartford's 2015 schedule. The addition of the River Hawks to the America East required the Hawks to recalibrate the team's slate for the coming spring, but instead of going one-for-one to make room for Massachusetts-Lowell, the Hawks added an exhibition date against the Johnnies and dropped both Dartmouth and Richmond, teams that appeared on Hartford's 2014 slate and served as two of the team's six victories last season.

Scheduling has all kinds of odd wrinkles, purposes, and forces, and Hartford's schedule is exhibiting aspects of all those things in this hyper-focused examination of the team's slate. It'll be interesting to see what these moves mean for the Hawks when the sun sets on the team's campaign next May.