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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Murderer's Row

I understand that in any collegiate sports, strength of schedule is a virtue, but damned if UMBC lacrosse doesn't have a murderer's row coming up. In the week to come, we've got #3 Carolina at home, we go across town on Tuesday night to play #5 Hopkins, and then get on the road to Jersey to play #6 Princeton. Add to that the following Saturday when the #7 Terps come to town, and that's four top 10 teams in about 2 weeks' time.

What gets me the most about this is Hopkins on a Tuesday night, a game typically falls on a weeknight. I understand why it's done--traveling across town on a weeknight is a lot more feasible than any team taking a more significant road trip mid-week. But I also think it puts the Dawgs at a disadvantage, one they've never overcome. I don't think I lose my Alumni Association membership by being honest and acknowledging that Hopkins--one of the winningest teams in college lacrosse--is a better team than we are. That said, Coach Zim can flat-out coach, and winning when we are overmatched has happened before. But, of course, with only three days of preparation before Hopkins on a Tuesday night, there's not nearly the time to game plan for them, and unsurprisingly, we've always ended up on the losing end of the exchange.

I'm also not particularly looking forward to having to face the Terps on the back end of that series. I've come to relish taking out the Terps, as we have the past three years, but that game is certainly not ideally positioned for success in the schedule this year.

We've got a bye following Turtle week, and then Stony Brook comes to town. While the bulk of our strength of schedule comes from the out-of-conference games, Stone Brook is currently ranked right below us, at #20, and is the team most expect to challenge for the AE throne this year. That matchup should certainly let both teams know where they stand. We then cross town again to play Baltimore's wrong black and gold before finishing out our AE slate. It's quite an outlook overall, but here's hoping that it'll prep us well should we head to the NCAA tourney again.
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