ASUN releases 2023 men's lacrosse conference schedule
It's only been 46 days since Maryland defeated Cornell in the national championship game in East Hartford. And it's never too early to start thinking about the 2023 lacrosse seasons.
Thursday, the ASUN released their 2023 men's lacrosse conference schedule featuring 10 teams and a total of 45 games. Each team will play nine conference games and at least four on the road.
After their first season back sponsoring men's lacrosse in 2022, the ASUN added Jacksonville and Mercer from the SoCon as well as Division II arrivals Lindenwood and Queens. With their transition from Division II, Lindenwood and Queens will be unable to compete in the NCAA Tournament for four seasons but could be able to compete in the ASUN Tournament although there is no official word on that.
Here are some highlights from the conference slate:
The first week of conference play includes Jacksonville traveling to defending ASUN champion Robert Morris. This could be an early look at the ASUN title game in early May. Utah also hosts Bellarmine in a rematch of one of the ASUN semifinals from a year ago, which the Utes won in overtime. Lindenwood travels to Cleveland State while Queens hosts Air Force in their first Division I conference contests.
Air Force faces Lindenwood in the second week of ASUN play. Detroit Mercy (April 1 and April 8), Mercer (April 22 and April 29), and Robert Morris (April 15 and April 22) will face the new kids on the block in consecutive weeks.
Week 2 also features Jacksonville hosting Mercer. Both schools have been conference rivals since 2014 when they were both in the initial A-Sun era. The teams will also reunite as conference rivals with Air Force and Bellarmine, who were all part of the SoCon earlier in the last decade.
Week 3 sees the two newbies go at it with Lindenwood hosting Queens. Expect growing pains from both programs this season, but it should be a good opportunity to test each other and see what to improve for the remainder of the season.
April begins with a notable conference matchup with Utah hosting Jacksonville in Salt Lake City. Both programs had breakthrough seasons, but neither could win their respective conference championship. Utah defeated Jacksonville in Florida last season.
A rematch of the ASUN title game between Utah and Robert Morris takes place on April 8 in Moon Township, PA. The Colonials edged Utah 18-17 in overtime to capture the conference crown last year.
Conference play wraps up on April 29, featuring Air Force hosting Robert Morris in a rematch of an ASUN semifinal from a year ago. The Colonials defeated the Falcons 9-7.
The ASUN Men's Lacrosse Tournament will take place at Joe Walton Stadium on the campus of Robert Morris from May 2-7. Per the championship webpage, it appears it will be a six-team tournament. I would assume May 2, a Tuesday, is the quarterfinal featuring 3v6 and 4v5. And then Friday the 5th and Sunday the 7th will be the semifinals and championship respectively.
It will also be interesting to see full schedules from these teams as well as for the other 10-team conference in men's lacrosse, the MAAC. Remember, teams are allotted for 17 competition dates against other Division I schools in the entire academic year. So that includes fall and spring scrimmages (playing against multiple teams on the same date count as one day). Nine dates are being used for ASUN conference play, which is more than half of their schedules. Perhaps teams would like to use one date for a fall scrimmage and scrimmage multiple teams before using one or even two days to scrimmage in the spring and ramp up? But that's all dependent upon the coaching staffs, as they know their teams more than I do.
We still wait for the first team to release their full 2023 schedule. But we're still a ways away from fall ball too.