The Colorado women's lacrosse team will open its 2018 season on the road against some of the nation's top programs.
The season starts Feb. 9 in Jacksonville, Fla., against a Michigan team looking to get back into the national spotlight, lead by former CU assistant coach Hannah Neilson. Colorado's road continues against a pair of programs that reached the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The Buffs visit No. 9 Florida on Feb. 11 and No. 13 Northwestern on Feb. 15.
"I am really excited about our schedule for the 2018 season," CU head coach Ann Elliott said. "Just like last year, our schedule will get off to a fast start. We know we have a lot of work to do between now and February to get ourselves prepared, but we are excited about the opportunity and challenge to take on some of the nation's top teams in our non-conference play."
The Buffs, who finished 16th in the final poll of 2017, will open up their home schedule with four contests at Kittredge Field, starting on Feb. 25 against former Mountain Pacific Sports Federation rival San Diego State. The following game will be a contest against another solid opponent in Virginia Tech on March 4.
Colorado will begin its Pac-12 Conference slate on March 9 against Stanford and on March 11, California will be in town.
CU's next three road games will also be conference matches, starting March 16 at No. 8 USC, which will also be CU's first match of the season on Pac-12 Networks. After a trip to the desert on March 18 for CU's first game against Arizona State, the Buffs head to the Pacific Northwest on March 23 for the second TV match, this time facing the Oregon Ducks in Eugene, Ore.
The Buffs will stay on the road for their following game, a tilt against in-state rival and another former MSPF foe, Denver, on March 29. After that, Colorado returns to Boulder for games against USC (April 6) and Arizona State (April 8); the latter will be on Pac-12 Networks.
The final regular season road trip will take the Buffs to Northern California where they will face Stanford (April 13) and California (April 15). The regular season home finale will take place on Friday, April 20, with CU taking on Oregon.
"This year will be a unique one for us as we enter the first year of the Pac-12 conference," Elliott said. "We will be the first conference in women's lacrosse to do a home and away schedule, which we are really looking forward to. It will be a great opportunity for us to build our conference, will be challenging to play such familiar opponents and will continue to build strong rivalries within our conference that our fans can really enjoy."
Postseason action will start with the conference tournament. The Buffs will host the inaugural Pac-12 Women's Lacrosse Championships, April 26-29, and all five games will be televised on Pac-12 Networks. The quarterfinals will be played on April 26 with the semi-finals on April 27. After a day off, the championship will be held on April 29.
CU will look to make its second straight NCAA Tournament this season. The first and second rounds of the tournament are May 11-13, while the quarterfinals are May 19-20. The semifinals will take place on May 25 with the championship game following on May 27.