Coming off the most difficult schedule in program history in 2008, the 2009 season kicks off at the newly renovated Rooney Field for four consecutive matches beginning with Notre Dame Feb. 14. The Fighting Irish finished second in the Big East Conference last season (12-7, 4-1) and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship.
The season does not get any easier. Three days later, Northwestern visits the Bluff. The Wildcats were 21-1 overall last season while capturing their fourth consecutive NCAA Championship.
"The 2009 schedule will be historic in many ways. We begin play in the new Rooney Stadium with 11 home games and for the first time ever we welcome four-time defending National Champions Northwestern," said fourth-year head coach Michael Scerbo. "We also have three other top 20 teams coming to campus and the defending A-10 champs Temple. After playing 12 of 17 games on the road last year we are excited to return to the friendly confines of Rooney Field."
DU hits the road for the first time Feb. 28 at Canisius. The Dukes have never lost to the Golden Griffins (4-0) in a series that began in 1998.
After spring break, Duquesne returns home to host Bucknell on Mar. 11. The Dukes and Bison have squared off six times, with DU taking four matches including a 12-9 win at Lewisburg last season.
First-year program Detroit will host Duquesne on Mar. 15. The Titans, who added the program last September, will compete as a NCAA Division I independent.
Cross-town rival Robert Morris will come to the Bluff Mar. 17 followed by Ohio State Mar. 22.
The seven-match Atlantic 10 Conference schedule commences on the road - Mar. 27 at George Washington and Mar. 29 at Richmond. The conference home opener is Apr. 3 against La Salle followed by Saint Joseph's Apr. 5.
Duquesne steps out of conference play Apr. 10 when they host Saint Mary's. This is the fist time that the Dukes and Gaels have met since the 2005 season.
The 2009 Atlantic 10 Lacrosse Championship will begin Apr. 24 with the championship to be held Apr. 26. Temple is hosting the championship at Geasey Field.
The Dukes will be returning 19 players from last season's team that made the Atlantic 10 Championship including four seniors - Kat McNish, Ashley Wood, Shannon Hadaway and Mollie Montgomery. McNish was named first team all-conference in addition to be voted A-10 student-athlete of the year. Wood was named second team all-conference along with Hadaway who finisher her first season wearing red and blue with 26 goals. Montgomery had anchored the Dukes' defense the past three seasons.
- The last time a Duquesne team hosted a defending national champion was Jan. 18, 1962 when the men's basketball team (ranked 5th in the nation) took on #3 Cincinnati.
- This marks the first time that any defending women's national champions has visited Duquesne.
- The Dukes have a 68-47 (.591) overall record against the 2009 teams.
- Duquesne has faced 16 of the 17 teams on the 2009 schedule - the lone school the Dukes have not played is first-year program Detroit.