JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (July 13, 2018) – The David Casper era of the ETSU men’s soccer program is in full swing, and a number of marquee matchups highlight the 2018 fall schedule, Casper announced Friday.
The Buccaneers will not only have eight regular season home games at Summers-Taylor Stadium for the upcoming season, but will also be hosting the 2018 SoCon Championship semifinal rounds and the championship final in Johnson City this year.
“In the last two years, seven of our opponents have been in the NCAA tournament,” Casper said. “That’s a daunting schedule but we’re excited for the challenge. The conference schedule will be grueling as always with tough opponents, but we believe our non-conference schedule will prepare us. Also, the opportunity to renew some local rivalries from years past will help get the fans engaged.”
Three preseason games kick off 2018, beginning with the annual Blue/Gold Intrasquad Scrimmage August 11. ETSU will then host Campbellsville August 15 before ending preseason play with an exhibition at Radford August 18.
Before the Bucs begin the home portion of their regular season schedule, two perennial Atlantic Coast Conference schools will welcome ETSU to the neighboring state of North Carolina — UNC and Wake Forest.
“Opening up with two ACC schools presents a great challenge for us early in the season,” Casper said. “These games will give us a benchmark and a barometer of where we’re at as a team. These are two programs historically in the top-10 each year, so this will show us how competitive we are and how close we are to the goals we’re trying to accomplish.”
ETSU will look to repeat its best win in program history in the 2018 season opener, as it travels to Chapel Hill, N.C. on August 24 to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels. In 2016, ETSU shocked No. 1 UNC with a 1-0 overtime win in Chapel Hill.
Two days later, ETSU will swing over to Wake Forest for a Sunday night road contest with the Demon Deacons. The Bucs tied No. 18 Wake Forest in the only regular season contest between the two, settling for a 2-2 draw in Johnson City in 2012.
Following the two ACC matchups, ETSU will open the home portion of its schedule with four straight home games at Summers-Taylor Stadium beginning Friday, August 31 with High Point at 7 p.m.
The Bucs will then welcome Liberty on Tuesday, Sept. 4, cross-state rival Appalachian State on Saturday, Sept. 8 before closing the home stand versus Dayton the following Tuesday night, Sept 11.
ETSU will hit the road for three away games following the home stand, starting against Lipscomb Sept. 15 in Nashville. The following weekend, the Bucs will face Georgia Southern.
The road swing ends with Casper’s first return to his former school as the Bucs take on the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington for a matchup of interest. Kentucky was one of only two schools to defeat ETSU in regular season last season, winning 2-1 in double overtime.
ETSU will close non-conference play at Summers-Taylor Stadium on Wednesday, Oct. 3 versus Marshall at 7 p.m.
With the addition of Belmont to the conference’s men’s soccer programs, the conference schedule has been shortened to six games with all team playing once instead of the previous 10-game design where all teams played a home-away series.
The Wofford Terriers will welcome ETSU to Spartanburg, S.C. on Saturday, Oct. 6 to this new-look Southern Conference.
The Bucs will then open up its home conference schedule with a contest against VMI Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. before traveling to UNCG Oct. 13.
ETSU will then host Furman on Saturday, Oct. 20 before welcoming new conference member Belmont to Johnson City on Tuesday, Oct. 23. Both games are slated to begin at 7 p.m. ETSU last faced Belmont in 2011, finishing with an even 2-2 series through ETSU’s first four years as a program.
The regular season will come to a close on the road in Macon, Ga. as ETSU will face Mercer. ETSU last defeated the Bears with a 1-0 overtime win in Macon, but the Bucs will seek revenge as Mercer knocked out ETSU in the 2017 SoCon tournament.
Following the SoCon quarterfinal round set for Nov. 3 — in which the highest seeds will host — Johnson City will welcome the four finalists Nov. 9-11 for the semifinal round games and the championship final.
For more schedule details, click the schedule tab on the ETSUBucs.com men’s soccer page.
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