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Flurry of Olympic sports activity closes out 2013-14 academic year
GREEENSBORO, N.C. – The blur of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Spring Sports Championship season has become almost routine to Kris Pierce, but there is a slight sense of the unknown heading into the 2014 version.
A new-look conference means new-look Championships for most ACC sports. Just as men’s and women’s basketball fans saw changes during last month’s ACC Tournaments, those who follow Olympic sports will find that each of the 11 Championships held prior to the end of May differ from those in the past to some degree.
In some cases, it will mean new tournament formats. In other sports, the structure of the competition will remain the same but events will run longer.
Pierce, the conference’s senior associate commissioner who is now in her fifth year overseeing ACC Championships, says it is simply a matter of numbers. Now 15 schools strong, the ACC has expanded, and so has its championship competition.
“We have 15 track and field teams now, 11 women’s golf teams, eight women’s lacrosse teams and six men’s lacrosse teams,” Pierce noted. “We have eight rowing teams, along with 11 softball teams.”
All of those numbers are record highs for the conference, and the litany goes on to include sports such as women’s tennis (15) and baseball (14).
“Figuring out formats for each has meant that we are going to have longer days at many of the Championships than we have in years past,” Pierce said. “But it is going to be an exciting season.”
Format changes will include the addition of a quarterfinal game in the ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship, which will be hosted by Boston College April 24-27. The ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship will still see four teams qualify for title competition, but the two non-qualifiers will play in an “ACC Showcase” game at the tournament site on the off day, all at PPL Park near Philadelphia.
“Both of those areas are such a hotbed for lacrosse, and we’re excited to take the number one conference in the country for both our men and women to those markets and let them see what we’re all about,” Pierce said.
The ACC Tennis Championships (April 23-27 at Cary, N.C.) will feature 27 teams – 15 women’s and 12 men’s. The ACC Softball Championship (May 8-10 at College Park, Md.) will include the league’s top eight teams.
Ten teams will now qualify for the ACC Baseball Championship, which gets under way at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, N.C., on Tuesday, May 20, and will conclude on Sunday, May 25. Single-elimination games on opening day will find the No. 7 seed facing the No. 10 seed, along with the No. 8 seed versus No. 9. The two winners will then join the top six teams from regular-season play in a round robin, pool-play format.
The action begins next Thursday, with the ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Chapel Hill, N.C., and the ACC Women’s Golf Championship at Greensboro’s Sedgefield Country Club.
The busiest stretch comes during April 23-27, when champions in men’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s lacrosse will all be decided. But it won’t end there, as May brings softball, rowing and the baseball finale.
“It’s a scramble, but it’s a good scramble,” Pierce said of the ACC’s efforts to make each championship a first-class event. “We have a chance to do a lot of team-building within the organization, and we have staff members from other departments who are willing to help us out if we are in a pinch. We are really able to divide and conquer and make sure everything is covered.
“Everything ACC Championship is a unique experience for those student-athletes. We don’t want any of them to suffer simply because there may be a lot going on one weekend as opposed to another.”
For ticket information on ACC Championship events, please see theACC.com or contact the hosting venues. Please see below for a complete 2014 ACC Spring Championships Schedule.
ACC Men’s & Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships
Thursday, April 17- Saturday, April 19
Fetzer Field (UNC); Chapel Hill, N.C.
Coverage: Thursday 5:-8:30 pm on ESPN3; Friday 4-8:30 pm on ESPN3; Saturday 4-8 pm on ESPN3
ACC Women’s Golf Championship
Thursday April 17-Saturday, April 19
Sedgefield Country Club; Greensboro, N.C.
Coverage: Friday 2-4 pm on the ACCDN on theACC.com; Saturday 12:30 - 3pm on the ACCDN on theACC.com
ACC Men’s & Women’s Tennis Championships
Wednesday, April 23-Sunday, April 27
Cary Tennis Park; Cary, N.C.
Coverage: Daily Recaps of Friday quarterfinals, Saturday semifinals and Sunday title matches on the ACCDN on theACC.com
ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship
Thursday, April 24-Sunday, April 27
Alumni Stadium (Boston College); Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Coverage: Thursday 11 am and 1 pm quarterfinals on RSN; Thursday 3 pm and 5 pm quarterfinals on the ACCDN on theACC.com; Friday 1 pm and 3 pm semifinals on RSN; Sunday 1 pm title game on RSN
ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship
Friday April 25-Sunday April 27
PPL Park; Chester, Pa.
Coverage: Friday 5pm and 7:30 pm semifinals on ESPNU; Saturday 7:30 ACC Showcase Game TBD; Sunday 1 pm title game on ESPNU
ACC Men’s Golf Championship
Friday, April 25-Sunday, April 27
Old North State Club; New London, N.C.
Coverage: Saturday 2:00-4:00 pm on the ACCDN on theACC.com; Sunday 2:00-4:00p on the ACCDN on theACC.com
ACC Softball Championship
Thursday, May 8-Saturday, May 10
Maryland Softball Stadium; College Park, Md.
Coverage: Thursday 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, 5 pm and 7:30 pm quarterfinals on RSN; Friday 1 pm and 3 pm semifinals on RSN; Saturday 2 pm title game on ESPN2
ACC Rowing Championship
Saturday, May 17
Lake Hartwell, S.C.
Coverage: The ACCDN on theACC.com
ACC Baseball Championship
Tuesday, May 20-Sunday, May 25
NewBridge Bank Park; Greensboro, N.C.
Coverage: Tuesday 11 am and 3 pm games, Wednesday-Saturday 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. games on RSN; Sunday 1 pm title game on ESPN2