SAINT LEO, Fla. – Saint Leo University Women's Lacrosse head coach Lesley Graham announced the 2016 schedule Monday and the team will host seven of 15 games at University Turf Stadium. The Lions head into a challenging slate where they will face three 2015 NCAA tournament teams, including a national semifinalist.
"As we enter our fifth year of competition, I am very excited about the depth of our schedule," said Graham. "We continue to play perennial powerhouses such as Limestone and Lindenwood, and have added some new competitors to the schedule with Dowling, Indiana (Pa.) and Southern Connecticut State."
The Lions open their season on the road in Hickory, North Carolina to face Lenior-Rhyne University on Feb. 27. They remain in North Carolina for a March 1 face-off at Belmont Abbey. Both teams made the trip out to University Turf Stadium last year and the Lions defeated Belmont Abbey, 10-6, but lost to Lenior-Rhyne by a score of 13-12.
"The growth of the sport has really allowed us to test our mettle against some of the top teams in the country while comprising our schedule against strong south region Division II opponents."
In the month of March, the Lions will host five home games including Gannon, Indiana (Pa.), Queens (N.C.), Dowling and Southern Connecticut State. The Lions have faced Gannon and Queens (N.C) in the past two seasons and they came out on top both times head to head against Gannon. The Lions seek redemption at University Turf against Queens (N.C.), as they lost to the Royals on the road in 2013, 12-8.
In 2015, the Lions competed for the first time in Sunshine State Conference play and finished 2-2 in the conference for a regular season third place finish. Saint Leo tabbed a record of 9-8 last season and are looking to improve this season, returning 19 student athletes including eight seniors. SSC competition will begin April 8, in Winter Park, Florida when the Lions travel to play Rollins College.
"As we move into conference play in April, I'm looking forward to improving upon our third place finish last year in the inaugural year of SSC play," Graham stated. "The conference has proven itself to be full of tough teams that will push our girls to be their best every day of spring season."
The Lions continue a five-game road swing through the end of April. After traveling to Winter Park to play Rollins, Saint Leo will face Tampa and Florida Southern.
The Green and Gold will return home and end regular season play at University Turf for senior night. The Lions will close out their season at home for the second year in a row and host conference foe Florida Tech. The Lions defeated the Panthers in their last match-up and are looking to end regular season play once again on a high note.
The SSC Championships will be hosted by the highest seed of the tournament. Semifinals will take place Friday, April 29 and finals will be held Sunday, May 1. The SSC was well represented with two of the eight teams in the national tournament.
For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo women's lacrosse team, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.