Champaign, IL – The University of Illini Men’s Lacrosse team has announced its schedule for the 2011 season. The 15-game schedule features five Big Ten opponents and eight teams that finished last season ranked among the MCLA’s Top 25.
The Illini open the 2011 season in Nashville on February 25, squaring off against both Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech. “All I know is that they are going to be a good team,” said Head Coach Phil Dodson of the Hokies. “Playing them at this point in the season gives us the opportunity to get on people’s maps early.”
The Illini will then take on GRLC opponent Missouri in Champaign on March 12th, followed quickly by Big Ten opponent Minnesota on March 14th.
Illinois will then embark on their annual Spring Break Trip, which takes the team to California. The Fighting Illini take on three Top 25 teams in a span of five days, starting with the Cal Golden Bears on March 19th. The Illini then take on Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and close out their Spring Break at Loyola Marymount. “This is the first year in a long time that I feel we can legitimately compete for an at-large bid. If you can beat teams that are going to win their conference then the selection committee is going to take notice,” said Coach Dodson.
Following their grueling Spring Break stretch, the Illini will play Marquette on April 1st in Champaign. The Golden Eagles will no doubt be looking for vengeance after their one goal loss to the Illini in 2010. Two days later, the Illini will host the Indiana Hoosiers to open a stretch of conference opponents.
One weekend later, the Fighting Illini will take on perennial powerhouses Minnesota-Duluth and Michigan State, both in Champaign. The Michigan State Spartans have taken three of the last four from the Fighting Illini, including a two goal loss they handed Illinois in the 2010 season. In addition to the significant level of competition Illinois will take on that weekend, the Fighting Illini aim to battle breast cancer, wearing pink uniforms throughout the weekend. Afterward the Illini will be selling the jerseys donating money to the fight against the disease.
The following weekend the Illini will travel to Lindenwood to take on the rival Lions. In the past six years, the Lions have only lost one game at Hunter Stadium. “I have never beaten Lindenwood on the road, and I plan on changing that this year,” said Coach Dodson.
The Illini will then wrap up their season with their only three divisional games, first hosting Illinois State April 21st, traveling to West Lafayette to play Purdue April 23rd, and finally facing off against the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison on April 30th, in what will be a highly anticipated rematch of the 2010 GRLC Championship game.
Fri Feb 4 7:00pm vs Iowa @ Iowa**
Fri Feb 5 9:00pm vs DePaul @ Iowa**
Sat Feb 12 1:00pm vs Missouri State @ CBC High school**
Fri Feb 25 7:30pm vs Vanderbilt @ Vanderbilt
Sat Feb 26 6:00pm vs Virginia Tech @ Vanderbilt
Sat March 12 3:00pm vs Missouri @ Illinois
Mon March 14 5:00pm vs Minnesota @ Illinois
Sat March 19 1:00pm vs California @ California
Mon March 21 12:00pm vs Cal Poly @ Cal Poly
Wed March 23 4:30pm vs Loyola Marymount @ Loyola Marymount
Fri April 1 6:00pm vs Marquette @ Illinois
Sat April 2 3:00pm vs Cincinnati @ Illinois**
Sun April 3 1:00pm vs Indiana @ Illinois
Fri April 8 7:30pm vs Minnesota-Duluth @ Illinois
Sun April 10 1:00pm vs Michigan State @ Illinois
Sun April 17 3:00pm vs Lindenwood @ Lindenwood
Thu April 21 7:00pm vs Illinois State @ Illinois*
Sat April 23 1:00pm vs Purdue @ Purdue*
Sat April 30 1:00pm vs Wisconsin-Madison @ Wisconsin-Madison*
Sat April 30 4:00pm vs Madison (Club) @ Wisconsin-Madison**