COLUMBIA – The University of Missouri Men’s Lacrosse program’s season is officially underway, as the team started spring practices the week of January 18.
This season’s squad features 37 student-athletes, one of the highest numbers for the program in five years.
After a snowstorm hit Columbia during the first week of the semester, the Tigers were forced to move all practices to Hinkson Field, south of campus. While it wasn’t expected, the team adapted quickly and had a very successful week getting the sticks back in their hands.
Starting this week, Mizzou is back on Stankowski Field, the home field for all Mizzou Lacrosse games, with the program getting to use the full-field for practices for the first time in school history. The team is already seeing dividends, as passing and situational-based drills have improved immensely compared to previous seasons.
With only two and a half weeks to go until their first game, the Tigers have also officially released their 2016 spring schedule. The 18-game schedule is the program’s longest since their memorable 2011 season which saw them rank in the MCLA National Polls and will feature three teams ranked in the Under Armour MCLA Coaches Preseason Poll.
The Tigers season will start on the road on Friday, February 12 against Missouri State. Last season the Tigers won a close game at home and had an overtime victory against the Bears during their Fall Ball season.
The following week Mizzou will open up its home slate with games against in-state foe Missouri S&T and 2015 LSA D-II champion Oklahoma State.
After the two contests, the team will travel on their farthest trip of the season for three games against SELC programs. On Friday, February 26, Missouri will be in Tallahassee, Florida taking on No. 19 Florida State, one of the most storied-franchises in the south. This will be the Tigers’ first Top 25 contest since they faced No. 13 Minnesota-Duluth in 2013. The next day the team will travel to Atlanta to take on Central Florida, a team vying for a spot in the Top 25 standings, and North Carolina State.
To start March, the Tigers will be back at home to take on Washington University on Friday. This is the first game between the two programs in more than four years. Following the Friday night showdown, Mizzou will play host to Texas A&M, their first of two games against SEC teams on the schedule.
On Sunday March 13 the Tigers will play their first GRLC opponent of the season, at 2015 GRLC Champion Purdue. The Boilermakers have won two of the previous three GRLC titles and will play Mizzou in a neutral-site game on Washington University’s campus in St. Louis.
The following day Missouri will play host to the Alabama Crimson Tide in a rematch of schools whose football teams competed in the 2014 SEC Championship game. Last season both the Tigers and Crimson Tide competed in the 2015 Allstate Sugar Bowl Lacrosse Classic, but the two schools did not play against each other.
After a bye the weekend of March 19, Missouri will start off a season-long six game road trip by traveling to Bloomington, Indiana on March 26 to play GRLC preseason No. 1 Indiana and No. 21 Davenport University. This will be the first time the Tigers play in Bloomington since the 2013 season.
Following their Spring Break, Missouri will travel to Kansas on April 9 to square off against longtime-rival KU in the Border War game and Kansas State. Over recent years the Tigers have outmatched the Jayhawks on the field, winning eight of the past ten games in the series.
Missouri will finish off its road trip in Ames, Iowa the weekend of April 16 to play No. 23 Minnesota and Iowa State. Minnesota spent most of the 2015 season in the MCLA Top 25 and is one of the favorites to win the UMLC title in 2016. This will be the third season in a row the Tigers and Cyclones square off on the field, with the previous two games taking place in Columbia. Both of the team’s previous matches have been extremely close, with the Tigers winning by one in 2014, and Mizzou needing to go to overtime to beat them in 2015.
The Tigers will end their regular season the weekend of April 22 with games against two of the top teams in the GRLC West, Iowa and Nebraska. Currently the Tigers, Huskers and Hawkeyes are projected to finish as the top-three teams in the West, and a first round bye and No. 1 seed for the conference tournament will be decided in Columbia. Missouri’s game against Nebraska on April 24 will also be Senior Day, as the program will honor its six seniors graduating in May.
The GRLC tournament will take place the weekend of April 29 in St. Louis.
For a complete schedule, check out the “Schedule” link on the top of the website or visit the Mizzou’s MCLA page at mcla.us/team/missouri and make sure to follow @MizzouLacrosse on Twitter for all the latest information.