Foxborough, Mass. -- In advance of the 2008 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships at Gillette Stadium May 24-26, Gillette Stadium and Massachusetts Sports Partnership officials announced today that a regular season college lacrosse doubleheader will be played at the stadium April 5.
In the inaugural New England Lacrosse Classic, the first lacrosse games to be played at Gillette Stadium, Cornell University will play Harvard University at 12 p.m. and Merrimack College will play Bryant University at 3 p.m.
"We are excited to host this doubleheader at Gillette Stadium," said Phil Buttafuoco, executive director of the 2008 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships. "These games will bring additional attention to the regular-season and showcase Gillette Stadium as a premier lacrosse venue in advance of May's NCAA Championships."
"The Massachusetts Sports Partnership is proud to partner with Gillette Stadium to bring another high profile lacrosse event to the Commonwealth," said Jonathan Paris, executive director of the MSP. "It is our hope to make this annual event a part of the New England sports landscape for years to come."
For Cornell, ranked No. 6 in the preseason polls, the 2007 season proved to be one of the greatest in recent years as the Big Red was named the 2007 FieldTurf/NCAA Lacrosse Team of the Year. Cornell capped an undefeated regular season (13-0) with the program's first trip to the national semifinal since the 1988 campaign. The Big Red, the fourth seed in the NCAA tournament, held the top spot in both national polls for the final nine weeks of the season and finished the year with a 15-1 record, one victory shy of the school record (16 in 1976) and eighth all-time in NCAA history for wins in a season.
Harvard begins a new era under first-year coach John Tillman. Tillman, a Cornell graduate, brings a highly enthusiastic coaching style to a team that will play three teams in the top seven of the final 2007 poll. With key returning players and a highly-regarded freshman class, Harvard, an NCAA tournament participant in 2006, is primed to jump back into the Ivy League title hunt. The Crimson will look to reverse a 15-6 loss to Cornell last season.
Merrimack, led by first-year head coach Mike Morgan, will look to avenge its loss to Bryant in the second round of the Northeast-10 Conference championship. Merrimack and Bryant were the only two losses suffered by 2007 NCAA Division II national champion, LeMoyne College. Merrimack begins the 2008 season ranked No. 8 in the USILA preseason rankings.
Bryant, led by second-year coach Mike Pressler, will be vying for its first NCAA championship appearance in 2008. In his first season at Bryant, Pressler guided the Bulldogs to their first Northeast-10 Conference regular season title and a top seed in the conference tournament playoffs. During the 2007 season, Bryant tied a school record with 10 consecutive wins, including an 9-0 mark in the Northeast-10. Among those wins was an exciting overtime victory against defending national champion Le Moyne, snapping the Dolphins' 70-game win streak. Bryant enters the 2008 season ranked No. 6 in the USILA preseason poll.
The NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships will be held in New England for the first time since all three divisional championships were combined into one event. More information is available at www.lax2008.com. The NCAA recently announced that the 2009 NCAA championships will also be played at Gillette Stadium and hosted by Harvard, the Massachusetts Sports Partnership and the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.