The 2019 season will be full of challenges for the Saint Ignatius prep lacrosse team.
Released on Monday by the lacrosse program, the 2019 schedule is a who's who of teams from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, Maryland, and Washington D.C. It's one of the most difficult schedules ever faced in the long history of the Wildcats' lacrosse program.
The slate features 16 regular season games leading up to the Midwest Tournament in mid-May. The regular season starts on March 19 and ends on May 7.
University School is the first foe on the list, hosting the Wildcats on March 19. The Lax Cats then head to Michigan to play 23-time state champion Brother Rice, who claimed the Michigan state title in 2016. A high-profile trip to Indiana follows. The Wildcats will play against Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS) from Missouri and Cathedral. MICDS has dominated Missouri lacrosse in recent years, winning five straight state titles and 73 consecutive games against in-state opponents. Cathedral has won 4 Indiana state titles, including back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017.
The Wildcats return to Northeast Ohio for a game against North Canton Hoover on April 3. A few days later, the Lax Cats hit the road again, this time destined for the University of Notre Dame. The Wildcats will square off against Culver Academy. Culver is a national powerhouse, earning the No. 1 ranking in the country in 2017 and competing in the GEICO High School Lacrosse Nationals in 2018.
Western Reserve Academy will then play host to the Wildcats on April 10. Three days later, the Lax Cats will host their first home game vs. Archbishop Moeller, the OHSAA state champions in 2017. Cleveland State University will be the venue for the contest.
This year's much-anticipated Easter break trip will take Saint Ignatius to a hotbed of lacrosse – Maryland and Washington D.C.
The Lax Cats will face off against two strong Maryland programs – Churchill and Whitman. Churchill reached the Maryland 4A MPSSAA title game last year, while Whitman fell to Churchill in the playoffs. Georgetown Prep will host the Wildcats to round out the trip. The Hoyas are a national power that was also invited to the GEICO Nationals last year, only to fall to Culver.
On April 23, the Wildcats will play the fourth of its five local opponents on the schedule – the Hudson Explorers. The two teams have developed a close rivalry over the years, and this matchup should be no different. The Wildcats then have a trip to Fortress Obetz circled on the schedule. St. Xavier and Saint Ignatius will meet in the middle in Columbus on April 26 in a marquee matchup of state powerhouses, a rematch of last year's state title game.
The Wildcats' first game at Wasmer Field will arrive on May 4. Dublin Jerome will visit West 30th and Lorain for a 4 pm contest. Everest Academy will stop by two days later for a showdown of the best of Ohio and Canada. The regular season concludes with the annual rivalry showdown vs. St. Edward on May 7 on Wasmer Field.
This year's Midwest Tournament will take place at Western Reserve Academy on May 10 and 11. As per usual, it will lead into the OHSAA Tournament.
The slate of contests will likely prove to be challenging, but not impossible, for the Wildcats. A talented group of players will return in 2019 to lead the team through the schedule.
Look for a season preview as March 19 approaches.