Women's Soccer Schedule Set for 2012 Campaign
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's soccer program and first-year head coach Abby Minihan released a 19-game slate for the 2012 season, featuring nine home games.
Upstate opens the year with a single exhibition match on Aug. 14 at Converse College before the regular season will kick-off three days later on the road at VMI. The Spartans' home opener features a match-up with Charleston Southern on Monday, Aug. 20 at 6 p.m.
"Our schedule will be competitive for us," Minihan said. "I really think we will improve upon our record from last year. We have some winnable games in there and I know our girls are excited and ready to make some changes and have some positive progress."
With five Atlantic Sun Conference home matches on the slate, the Spartans will host Florida Gulf Coast (Sept. 21), Stetson (Sept. 23), East Tennessee State (Oct. 6), Lipscomb (Oct. 12) and the league's newest member Northern Kentucky (Oct. 14).
Upstate will play just four road conference games, traveling to Mercer and Kennesaw State the final weekend of September, before closing out the regular season schedule with contests at North Florida and Jacksonville in October.
"The A-Sun is a new conference for me, but some of the programs I have coached with in the past have played some A-Sun teams, so I feel like I have an idea of what the competition will be like," Minihan said. "Our goal for this season is to be competitive within the league."
The Spartans will play non-conference games on the road against Navy (Aug. 24), Liberty (Aug. 26), Francis Marion (Sept. 7) and Wofford (Sept. 13.), while welcoming the likes of UNC Asheville (Aug. 30), Gardner-Webb (Sept. 4) and Presbyterian (Sept. 16) to County University Stadium.
The Atlantic Sun Conference tournament is scheduled to take place Oct. 27-Nov. 5. The two first-round games of the six-team, single-elimination tournament will be hosted by the higher seed, while the site for the semifinals and finals is yet to be finalized.
"We want to be in contention for a conference tournament spot at the end of regular season," Minihan said. "Every game will bring a new challenge for us and my hope is that we will rise to every challenge and compete in every game."
Northern Kentucky, which will play its first season at the Division I level as it transitions its athletics program from the Division II ranks, is ineligible to compete in the postseason tournament, giving nine teams a chance to battle for six spots in the A-Sun tournament.