"We are all very excited for the official start of practice and the opportunity to see our 21 new players begin to merge, compete and build relationships with our returners," said VMI head coach Brian Anken, who is entering his third season on Post. "This is always an exciting day for the entire staff and will be the first day of this year's journey that is filled with very high expectations."
VMI brings in 21 fresh faces to the squad this year, which will mix well with the 23 returners from last year's team, which lost 13 players to graduation.
Highlighting the team's fall slate will be the 26th edition of the Lee-Jackson Classic, a deep-rooted rivalary with in-town foe Washington & Lee University. The Lee-Jackson will be held at W&L's Wilson Field on Friday Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Despite the game being played at the Generals' home field, VMI will host the event in every other aspect.
VMI wraps up the fall slate on Oct. 28 with a three-way scrimmage in Lexington. Game times have not been set, nor have the opponents.
Last season, the Keydets capped the year with a 4-10 overall record, but went 2-4 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, narrowly missing out on the league's four-team playoff. Three of the team's conference losses were by two goals or less, showing a marked improvement in Anken's second season at the helm.
VMI opens the regular season on Feb. 9 at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Game time is slated for noon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.