Can this finally be the year where the Virginia men’s lacrosse team wins an ACC game for the first time in four years? Makes the ACC tournament for the first time in five? Wins an NCAA tournament game for the first time in six?
Those questions and more will be answered starting on Saturday as No. 15 UVA takes on No. 10 Loyola at Klockner Stadium. Today, it’s time to look at the 2018 schedule and what kind of matchups the Hoos can expect this year.
It always strikes me as odd that the lacrosse season starts when we’re still in the meat of the college basketball regular season, but I digress. After the Loyola game, the Cavaliers hit the road on Feb. 17 against Drexel, then Feb. 20 at High Point (both unranked). After that, they take on old Ivy League nemesis and 19th-ranked Princeton at home on Feb. 24.
Prediction: Loyola is on the rebound this year after a 10-6 2017. 3-1.
Now the fun begins. The March schedule starts on the 4th with the traditional early March game against No. 11 Syracuse, this year in Charlottesville. Two easier contests at Manhattan and Stony Brook follow that, then No. 6 Notre Dame looms on March 17 in South Bend. They play Dartmouth three days later in Charlottesville before finishing the month with home games against No. 13 Johns Hopkins (March 24) and Richmond (March 31).
Prediction: UVA lost to Syracuse by one in regulation last year and in overtime to Notre Dame. Arguably their best opportunity to win a conference game is against Syracuse, and I think they will. 5-2.
Just three Saturday games on the slate this month: at No. 9 North Carolina (April 7), then home games against No. 1 Duke (April 14) and Vermont (April 21). Then comes the ACC tournament in Charlottesville from April 27-29 if they can secure that No. 4 seed.
Prediction: This will be a great opportunity to pad their NCAA tournament resume. The first two games of the month will undoubtedly be good for their RPI and a win over UNC isn’t out of the question, but right now, I don’t think UVA’s quite there yet. 1-2.
Senior Night is on May 1 against VMI. All that really needs to be said before the NCAA tournament begins the weekend of May 12, if the Cavaliers can make it back for the first time since 2015.
Final regular season record prediction: 10-5.