New Division I Teams Announce Challenging Non-Conference Slates in 2023

PHOTO COURTESY OF QUEENS (N.C.) ATHLETICS


NCAA lacrosse teams transitioning from Division II to Division I in 2023 are wasting no time jumping into the fray.

The ASUN Conference was the hub of a ton of offseason movement. Queens (N.C.) and Lindenwood are both part of the conference’s new-look lineup.

On the men’s side, the ASUN also added Southern Conference castaways Jacksonville and Mercer to the 10-team league. Queens’ inaugural Division I schedule consists of nine ASUN games as well as a season-opening trip to Navy and a non-conference finale at High Point.

The Royals, coming off a 12-5 season against Division II competition, will play four teams (High Point, Jacksonville, Navy and Utah) that were ranked in the Nike/USA Lacrosse Division I Men’s Top 20 at some point last year. Jacksonville, Navy and Utah all appeared in Patrick Stevens’ way-early rankings for the 2023 season. That’s not to mention defending ASUN champion Robert Morris, which received consideration for the top 25.

Lindenwood, meanwhile, will challenge itself with non-conference games at Marquette and LIU to highlight its first season at the Division I level. The Lions, who went 12-4 last spring and advanced to the NCAA Division II tournament, also get to play Jacksonville, Robert Morris and Utah as part of their ASUN membership.

On the women’s side, Lindenwood, which won the NCAA Division II championship in 2021, currently lists only its seven ASUN games on its website.

Queens released its full schedule earlier this month. Notable non-conference foes include Richmond, East Carolina and another transitioning former Division II stalwart in Stonehill. The Royals are coming off three straight appearances in the NCAA Division II final four, including a runner-up finish to Lindenwood in 2021.

Stonehill also advanced to the NCAA Division II tournament last spring, falling to former conference foe Adelphi in a regional final. No schedule yet for the Skyhawks, who will compete in the Northeast Conference and have as part of their pedigree a pair of NCAA titles they won in 2003 and 2005.

While all these teams can play for conference championships and awards, none are eligible for the NCAA tournament until they complete the four-year reclassification period during which the colleges must demonstrate continued commitment to Division I standards in athletics and academics.







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