Monday, August 31, 2015

Monmouth releases nonconference schedule

Justin Robinson goes into junior season with MAAC Player of the Year aspirations as Monmouth begins a season of high expectations with challenging nonconference schedule. (Photo courtesy of the Asbury Park Press)

When Monmouth joined the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in the summer of 2013, head coach King Rice spoke excitedly about his desire to challenge his team, being unafraid to test a young roster in a conference most felt the Hawks would be thrown to the wolves in, as evidenced by their last-place prediction in the 11-team league.

Two years in the MAAC later, Monmouth has built off ninth and fourth-place finishes, coming just two wins short of an NCAA Tournament appearance. With that in mind, and with all but two players from last year's rotation back for an encore in West Long Branch, the Hawks are thinking big, and their nonconference schedule released Monday afternoon reflects such a philosophy.

"We are very excited about this schedule," Rice said in a release highlighting how Monmouth will start his fifth season at the helm. "I think our program has really taken some steps forward over the last four years, and this is definitely a way to challenge them."

The Hawks follow up an 18-win season with a campaign-opening trip to the West Coast, tipping off against UCLA on November 13 and then visiting USC on November 16. Once back in the Eastern time zone, Monmouth will travel to Drexel on November 21 in their final tuneup prior to participating in the Advocare Invitational, formerly the Orlando (nee Old Spice) Classic.

In Disney World's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Monmouth first takes on Notre Dame at 6:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, November 26, with another game the following day and their final contest in the Sunshine State on the 29th of the month, the latter two against teams to be determined. After the traditional opening weekend of MAAC play in December, the Hawks' lone non-league home game takes place on Sunday, December 13, when Wagner makes their way over the Outerbridge Crossing into the Multipurpose Activity Center. The matchup with the Seahawks, Monmouth's former Northeast Conference rival, kicks off a stretch of four games in eleven days that will also see the Hawks travel to Georgetown, (December 15) Rutgers, (December 20) and Cornell, (December 23) before their final test of the 2015 calendar year, a December 28 skirmish against Army West Point at Christl Arena. All tip times, except the Notre Dame game, are to be determined at a later date.

2015-16 Monmouth Hawks Nonconference Schedule
Friday, November 13: at UCLA
Monday, November 16: at USC
Saturday, November 21: at Drexel
Thursday, November 26: vs. Notre Dame (Advocare Invitational, Orlando, Fla.)
Friday, November 27: vs. TBD (Advocare Invitational, Orlando, Fla.)
Sunday, November 29: vs. TBD (Advocare Invitational, Orlando, Fla.)
Sunday, December 13: vs. Wagner
Tuesday, December 15: at Georgetown
Sunday, December 20: at Rutgers
Wednesday, December 23: at Cornell
Monday, December 28: at Army West Point

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