SAINT LEO, Fla. – Saint Leo University men’s lacrosse coach Brad Jorgensen has announced his 2011 schedule as the Lions gear up to defend their regular season Deep South Conference title.  Jorgensen has 12 opponents slated to compete against the Lions, with his conference schedule starting in the Lions’ first game.

The season kicks off on Saturday, February 19 with a return trip to Winter Park, Fla. as Saint Leo starts the season against Rollins in DSC action.  The opening game on the road is a carbon copy of last year’s start as the Lions opened their season with a 14-5 defeat of the Tars that started their season on the right foot.

As with last year, Saint Leo will not touch the home turf until the calendar turns to March as the road-weary Lions will make the first of two long trips to North Carolina to face St. Andrew’s Presbyterian College and Pfeiffer University in February.

Facing St. Andrew’s on Friday, February 25 in Laurinburg, Saint Leo will look to claim their third victory all-time over the Knights, currently holding a 2-1 record after an 18-9 win at home last season.  Two days later the Lions will face Pfeiffer in Misenheimer in the fourth meeting all-time between these two clubs.  Another team that SLU faced in 2010, Saint Leo claimed a 12-7 victory over the Falcons at home.

Although the season’s start sees the Lions play their first three games on the road, once the gates to University Field open on March 6, Saint Leo will begin a six-game home stand in a place where they haven’t lost since March of 2009. Their first game comes against Notre Dame de Namur that Sunday as the visitors make their second trip to SLU in as many seasons.  The Lions defeated Notre Dame 12-5 last season.

Two conference opponents await the Lions when Saint Leo faces Wingate on Wednesday, March 9 and Catawba the following Saturday.  The Lions have had a good bit of luck against the two DSC schools, sweeping both teams over the last two seasons, including a 9-4 win over Catawba in the DSC Tournament Championship Game last year.

Finishing 2010 with just three losses (all on the road), Saint Leo will have the opportunity to seek a measure of revenge against two of those teams when the Lions host Queens University of Charlotte on March 16 and Limestone on March 26.

In last year’s road matchup, Queens stunned the then-eighth-ranked Lions 10-9 in double overtime for Saint Leo’s first blemish of 2010.

Possibly the biggest game of the season at that point will see Saint Leo look to trip up Limestone at home following the Queens game.  Traveling to Gaffney, S.C. last season, the Lions watched Limestone score 11 goals before SLU could score in what ultimately became a 17-4 defeat, effectively ending the Lions’ NCAA South Region title hopes.

After their first meeting with Lindenwood University, a transitional program into Division II, on March 29, Saint Leo will head back to North Carolina when they face conference foes Mars Hill College and Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Always one of Saint Leo’s toughest in-conference matchups, April 1 will see Saint Leo visit Mars Hill, NC in a battle of Lions, with the past two Deep South Conference regular-season champions facing off.

Their final regular-season road contest will be against the Deep South Conference’s newest team in Lenior-Rhyne University.  In their first year of competition, the host Bears will host Saint Leo for the first time ever.

Returning home on April 9, the Lions close out their regular season with a Senior Night showdown with Florida Southern.  It was the Moccasins who upset the ninth-ranked Lions 11-10 in Lakeland to close out the 2010 regular season.  The Lions managed to defeat the Mocs five days later in the semifinal round of the DSC Tournament.

Concluding the regular season, Saint Leo will hopefully be positioned to host rounds of the Deep South Conference Tournament scheduled for April 12-17 as the Lions are guaranteed to serve as hosts for the championship game, played April 17.

Still with one of the more unique postseason brackets in the NCAA, Division II men’s lacrosse only has four postseason spots, with the three regional winners and one wild-card team representing the regions. 

Hopefully, if the Lions play to their tremendous potential, and they get some lucky breaks along the way, one of those four spots at the National Championships in Baltimore, Md. will be reserved for the Green and Gold for the first time ever.