Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Jan. 12, 2021 — The one thing we haven’t seen yet (EDITED)

It’s about a month before the first women’s lacrosse games are usually played.

However, as of this moment, most of us only know of exactly one fixture: the Feb. 13 season-opener between two of the last three NCAA Division I champions, as 2018 champion James Madison takes on 2016 titlist North Carolina.

The Coronavirus pandemic has sent collegiate athletic directors scrambling to create schedules which make sense given local health directives and the presence of COVID hotspots. Multiply this across several sports teams, and you’ll understand the logistical nightmare of trying to run an athletic department during these times.

What we know is that the nation’s most competitive women’s lacrosse conference, the ACC, has a structure already. Though the ACC will remain a single-table league, it is being split into two divisions. Boston College, Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Louisville are in one division, with Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and Duke in the other. Teams play divisional opponents twice, and teams from the opposite division once, with up to five non-conference games, for a total of 15.

In addition, the Big East will be having double round-robin, but without travel. That is to say, when Georgetown plays Villanova, both games will take place the same weekend either at Cooper Field or at Villanova Stadium.

The hangup for many of the 120 or so women’s lacrosse teams in Division I seems to be non-conference games.

And imagine: if the Division I teams are having this much trouble hammering out their schedules, what must the Division II and III schedulemakers be experiencing?

UPDATE: This afternoon, the entire UNC women’s lacrosse schedule came out. And, as expected, it was 15 matches in duration.

The Heels’ non-conference schedule does run the gamut. The team will be playing James Madison to open the season, with a good Florida side a week later. UNC is also going to play three teams which they should beat, in Mercer, High Point, and Vanderbilt.

This means, of course, that there are some prominent teams that the Tar Heels won’t be playing, such as Loyola, Stony Brook, and, perhaps most pointedly, Maryland. UNC and Maryland were ACC rivals before the latter jumped to the Big Ten, but still kept playing each other. Regrettably, COVID scheduling has put the kibosh on that.

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