The Washington Times - November 10, 2008, 12:38PM

Lacrosse is a small enough sport that word gets around pretty quickly when something huge is afoot.

Of course, secrets get out in all sorts of ways – including the release of schedules.

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So it comes as little surprise right now that Inside Lacrosse is announcing its Big City Classic in East Rutherford, N.J., an April 4 affair featuring Syracuse-Princeton, Virginia-North Carolina and Hofstra-Delaware.

North Carolina put out its schedule more than a month ago listing the site. Virginia followed suit. And, well, it wasn’t hard to start piecing this together after that.

This is the third event IL will put on, in addition to its Face-Off Classic (Hopkins-Princeton, Duke-Maryland) and Day of Rivals (Army-Navy, Hopkins-Maryland). Both of those will be played in Baltimore, and the matchups are ingrained enough to ensure a solid turnout assuming there isn’t dreadful weather.

This is a bit more of a gamble. It’s further north, though it is still close to the sport’s Long Island hotbed. Although Virginia-Carolina can be good and Hofstra-Delaware probably will be, the only game that really jumps out as a must-see game in the last 15 years is Syracuse-Princeton (and even that’s lost some shine with Princeton falling from its once-lofty perch in the last few years).

It’s in a stadium that hasn’t hosted a final four, though that’s probably a trivial point. And it’s on the same day as the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four, which will have an early evening tip-off and could siphon some more casual fans away.

All six teams involved agreed to two-year deals, so this is an example of investing now and hoping to build on things in the future.

As great as it is for the game to get a look just outside of New York, this doesn’t seem like nearly as sure a sure thing as the Baltimore doubleheaders. But if it is a decent draw, chances are good a couple more of these events will pop up elsewhere in 2010.

Patrick Stevens