A three-match West Coast road trip and a nine-match homestand highlights the 2012 Princeton regular season schedule that the team released Thursday.
Princeton finished last season in last place in the EIVA Tait Division and did not qualify for the conference tournament. The Tigers have seven starters returning for the upcoming season, including outside attacker Jeff Stapleton.
Check out the five things to take away from Princeton’s schedule for the 2012 season.
Five things to know about the schedule
1. Opening out west
For the 16th consecutive season, the Tigers will open their season with a West Coast road trip. Princeton will play non-conference matches against Cal Baptist, Long Beach State and UC San Diego during a three-day stretch to begin its 2012 season. The Tigers are 16-37 all-time on their annual West Coast road trip, including being 2-25 against Division I-II teams with their last victory coming in 1997. Cal Baptist and UC San Diego have been traditional opponents for Princeton on this West Coast road trip, while Long Beach State has not played Princeton since 1997. This will be the ninth consecutive year that Cal Baptist and Princeton will play each other with the Lancers leading the all-time series 10-0. In addition, UC San Diego has defeated Princeton the last six seasons.
2. Closing out at home
After opening its season with a seven-match road trip, Princeton will only have to leave its home court twice the rest of the season. The Tigers will play 12 of its final 14 matches at Dillon Gym, including a nine-match homestand from March 10 to April 14. Princeton during this 14-match stretch will play all seven of its home conference matches and will have five non-conference matches against Division III teams. The Tigers last season went 2-8 at home to snap their streak of three consecutive seasons with a winning home record.
3. No late EIVA play
Princeton’s chances of reaching the EIVA Tournament will be likely determined before the final month of the regular season. The Tigers will play 12 of their 14 EIVA matches by March 31 and will have two conference matches in April. This is the fewest conference matches in April among all the EIVA teams. The EIVA in May announced it would change its conference tournament format for the upcoming season and reduce the tournament field. Instead of seven teams, only the top four EIVA teams at the end of the regular season will advance to the conference tournament. Princeton last reached the EIVA Tournament in 2010. The Tigers are also the only team besides Penn State to win an EIVA championship in the last 20 years.
4. Late start to season
The Tigers will have plenty of time to prepare for the start of its season. Princeton’s season-opener against Cal Baptist on Jan. 30 is the latest season-opener of any Division I-II team in the nation. The Tigers traditionally start their season a few weeks later than most teams. However, the Jan. 30 opener ties the team’s latest start date in the last 10 years. The extra time to prepare for its season opener has not necessarily helped the Tigers in previous years. Princeton has not won a season-opener since 2001.
5. No MIVA in non-conference
One year after playing three matches against MIVA teams in non-conference play, Princeton will not have any matches against the Midwest conference. Princeton’s two matches against Ohio State and match against Ball State last season was the first time since 1998 that it scheduled non-conference matches against the MIVA. To replace these non-conference matches, the Tigers will play more matches against East Coast Division III teams. Princeton will have five matches versus Division III teams this upcoming season, including four consecutive matches against Division III schools in April.
Princeton 2012 regular season schedule
10 p.m. Jan. 30 at Cal Baptist
10 p.m. Jan. 31 at Long Beach State
8 p.m. Feb. 1 at UC San Diego
7 p.m. Feb. 10 at Sacred Heart*
1 p.m. Feb. 11 at Harvard*
7 p.m. Feb. 17 at Rutgers-Newark*
7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Penn State*
7 p.m. Feb. 25 at St. Francis*
7 p.m. Feb. 28 vs. Rutgers-Newark*
7 p.m. March 2 vs. Sacred Heart*
4 p.m. March 3 vs. Harvard*
7 p.m. March 9 at NJIT*
3 p.m. March 10 vs. George Mason*
6 p.m. March 24 vs. Juniata
7 p.m. March 30 vs. Penn State*
2 p.m. March 31 vs. St. Francis*
7 p.m. April 6 vs. NYU
2 p.m. April 7 vs. Vassar
7 p.m. April 11 vs. Kean
7 p.m. April 14 vs. Baruch
7 p.m. April 18 vs. NJIT*
4 p.m. April 21 at George Mason*
*Indicates EIVA match
All times EST