JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 5, 2011) - Coming off of a conference championship and NCAA tournament berth in 2010, ETSU head men's soccer coach Scott Calabrese announced a very tough 2011 fall schedule on Thursday. The schedule features ten home games including matches against ACC foes Clemson and Virginia Tech as well as Atlantic Sun regular season champion Florida Gulf Coast.
"This is a very difficult schedule," said Calabrese. "It's a schedule that features programs that have had considerable success on the regional and national level. Playing a schedule of this level will challenge our players to give their very best each game"
ETSU opens the preseason on the road with an Aug. 14 match against 2009 NCAA Champion Virginia.
The Bucs open the regular season at home against Presbyterian on Aug. 27 before going on the road for the next four contests. Defending Southern Conference champion UNC-Greensboro heads up the road swing on Aug. 31.
ETSU is slated to face Marshall in Huntington, W.Va. on Sept. 4 before heading to Old Dominion for a pair of matches against teams from the Colonial Athletic Conference.
Both ODU (Sept. 9) and William & Mary (Oct. 11) reached the NCAA tournament in 2010 with the Braves advancing as far as the Sweet 16.
ETSU then will host Davidson on Sept. 17 before the Hokies come to Johnson City, Tenn. on Sept. 20. The Buccaneers face Winthrop in Rock Hill, S.C. on Sept. 23 and then host Furman on Sept. 25 in the final non-conference tune up for the Bucs.
"Playing ACC teams such as Virginia Tech and Clemson at Summers-Taylor stadium will give our fans the opportunity to see ETSU compete against the top level of collegiate soccer" Calabrese added. These difficult games will test our team's resolve early on in the season but also serve to prepare us for our conference play."
Conference play begins on Sept. 29 as ETSU is set to head to Nashville, Tenn. to face Belmont. The Atlantic Sun had four teams featured on ESPN for making big RPI turnarounds in 2010 as the conference as a whole had one of the strongest seasons in A-Sun history.
The Bucs also have conference road games at North Florida (Oct. 7), Jacksonville (Oct. 9) and Mercer (Oct. 22). ETSU opens the conference home season on Oct. 2 against Lipscomb. Both Stetson (Oct. 14) and FGCU (Oct. 16) also come to town in the month of October as the matchup with the Hatters will be a rematch of the conference tournament championship game.
"Our conference continues to improve in quality and reputation," Calabrese said. "This season I believe the teams with-in the A-Sun have improved again. We will have to be at our best every game to compete for a conference championship in 2011."
On Oct. 24, the Buccaneers will host Clemson in yet another ACC home game as the Bucs will look to top their Summers-Taylor Stadium attendance record that was set in 2010 against UNC.
Home games against USC Upstate (Oct. 29) and Appalachian State (Nov.1) round out the 2011 schedule for ETSU, while the Atlantic Sun conference tournament is slated to start on Nov. 9.