A three-match West Coast road trip and a home match against Penn State highlights the 2012 Harvard regular season schedule that the team released Friday.
Harvard finished last season tied for last place in the EIVA Hay Division and did not qualify for the EIVA Tournament. The Crimson have all seven starters returning for the upcoming season.
Check out the five things to take away from Harvard’s schedule for the 2012 season.
Five things to know about the schedule
1. West Coast road trip
Harvard will travel to the West Coast in mid-March for non-conference matches against Cal State Northridge, Pepperdine and Cal Baptist. This is the second straight season that Harvard will play road matches against Cal State Northridge and Pepperdine. The Crimson last season lost in three games to the Matadors and Waves as part of a three-match West Coast road trip. Harvard is on an eight-match losing streak against teams currently in the MPSF dating back 1997. In addition, during this stretch it has been swept in all but one of the non-conference matches.
2. Unbalanced schedule
Anyone wanting to see a Harvard home match will have limited opportunities after the second half of the season. The Crimson play two home matches — Rutgers-Newark on March 30 and NJIT on March 31 — in March and April. Harvard will have 10 home matches this upcoming season, including a six-match homestand from Feb. 10-25. The Crimson last season finished 8-4 at home, while going 1-9 on the road. The 13 road matches this season for Harvard will be its most road matches since 2000.
3. Penn State home match
For the first time in its program history, Harvard will play a home match against Penn State. The Crimson will play a conference match against the Nittany Lions on Feb. 17. Penn State has reached 13 consecutive Final Fours and will likely be one of the few nationally ranked teams to ever play a road match against Harvard. Penn State and Harvard will play two matches against each other as part of the new EIVA conference schedule that expanded from 10 to 14 matches. The EIVA also eliminated the Tait and Hay divisions. In previous years, Penn State and Harvard did not play each other because they were separate divisions. Harvard is 0-3 all-time against Penn State — losing each match in three games.
4. Holding off the EIVA
Harvard’s chances of making the 2012 EIVA Tournament will be likely determined on its performance during the final month of the regular season. The Crimson will close out their season playing seven EIVA matches from March 24 to April 14, including four matches against teams that reached the conference tournament last season. Unlike previous year when the EIVA Tournament had seven teams, in 2012 the tournament will be comprised of only the top four teams in the EIVA standings. The EIVA made the change this summer after three schools left to reduce the conference to eight teams. Harvard has not reached the conference tournament since 2009.
5. West Coast coming East
Harvard will have a home match against a West Coast Division I-II team for the second time in its program history. Harvard will play Cal Baptist on Feb. 8 to open a six-match homestand. This will be the second consecutive season Cal Baptist has traveled to Boston. However, the school is entering its first year as an NCAA provisional member. The Lancers won the 2011 NAIA championship last season. Harvard is 0-2 all-time against Cal Baptist, including a three-game loss last season. The only other Division I-II West Coast team to travel to Harvard was UC Santa Barbara, which swept the Crimson in 2009.
Harvard 2012 regular season schedule
7 p.m. Jan. 24 at Endicott
7 p.m. Jan. 27 at River
7 p.m. Jan. 28 vs. Springfield
7 p.m. Feb. 4 at MIT
7 p.m. Feb. 8 vs. Cal Baptist
7 p.m. Feb. 10 vs. George Mason*
7 p.m. Feb. 11 vs. Princeton*
7 p.m. Feb. 17 vs. Penn State*
4 p.m. Feb. 18 vs. St. Francis*
7 p.m. Feb. 22 vs. Emmanuel
2 p.m. Feb. 25 vs. Sacred Heart
4 p.m. March 2 at George Mason*
4 p.m. March 3 at Princeton*
10 p.m. March 10 at Cal State Northridge
7 p.m. March 12 at Pepperdine
7 p.m. March 13 at Cal Baptist
2 p.m. March 24 at Sacred Heart*
7 p.m. March 30 vs. Rutgers-Newark*
2 p.m. March 31 vs. NJIT*
7 p.m. April 6 at St. Francis*
2 p.m. April 7 at Penn State*
7 p.m. April 13 at NJIT*
7 p.m. April 14 at Rutgers-Newark*
*Denotes EIVA match
All times EST