HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College women's lacrosse team has announced its 2014 schedule.
Coming off a season that saw the Fords register their highest Centennial Conference finish ever (third) and tie the program record for wins in a season (13), head coach Lauren Wray aimed to strengthen her squad's non-conference schedule. Consider Wray's mission accomplished as Haverford will face off against five teams this season that finished 2013 in the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) final top-20 poll.
The Fords will open the season with a short road trip to Cabrini College on February 25 to take on the defending champions of the Colonial States Athletic Conference.
March brings two early home dates against top-notch competition. The home opener brings York (Pa.) College to Swan Field on March 1. The Spartans, who finished the season ranked 11th in the IWLCA poll, advanced to the Sweet 16 last year and have a 28-10 record over the last two campaigns.
The grueling schedule continues with a night game against visiting Stevenson University on March 5. The Mustangs, ranked 20th in the Lacrosse Magazine preseason top-20 poll, won a school-record 16 games in 2013 and rose as high as 15th in the IWLCA coaches ranking.
A spring break trip to Clermont, Fla., pits Haverford against Bridgewater (Va.) College on March 9 prior to a tough test with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) four days later. The Engineers claimed the first two NCAA victories in program history last season, including a one-goal victory over Centennial Conference defending champion Gettysburg College in the round of 16. RPI's historic finish earned the team a spot in the top 10 in the final IWLCA poll of the 2013 season with a 16-4 record.
The non-conference schedule continues with a game against Freedom Conference member Eastern University on March 19 before the Centennial slate begins with a March 22 game at Gettysburg. The Bullets, who rank sixth in the preseason top 20, qualified for the NCAA tournament for the 12th consecutive year in 2013 on their way to a 19-2 final record.
The Fords close out the non-conference portion of the schedule with an afternoon contest at Rowan University, which earned an at-large bid to the 2013 NCAA tournament, on March 26.
Haverford went 6-1 in conference action during the final month of the regular season last year and the Fords will be looking for another strong finish in 2014 as they play seven Centennial games in April. Five of those seven contests will be at Swan Field, including the final four games of the regular season.
Highlights of the April slate include home games against Washington College and Franklin & Marshall College on April 16 and 19, respectively. Washington was a Centennial semifinalist last season while the Diplomats, ranked fifth in the national preseason poll, fell to Gettysburg by a narrow margin in last year's conference championship before advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals.
The regular season concludes in traditional fashion against Swarthmore College as the Garnet come to Swan Field on April 26.