Nine home matches and five 2008 NCAA tournament participants highlight campaign
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (June 15, 2009) - After facing one of the toughest schedules in recent memory just a season ago, things won't get any easier for the ETSU women's soccer team this fall as five teams that reached NCAA postseason play highlight the 2009 campaign, according to the schedule released by head coach Heather Henson, Monday.
"We are excited about our schedule and think it's a great collection of matches," said Henson. "We have 17 returning letterwinners and all the teams will play should prepare us well for the Atlantic Sun Conference season."
After taking advantage of two home preseason exhibition matches against King College Aug. 13 and Winthrop Aug. 16, ETSU kicks off its 2009 slate at defending Southeastern Conference Champion Tennessee Aug. 22. The match marks the third time the two in-state rivals have faced each other, after the Bucs and Lady Vols competed back in 1997 and 1998.
After a brief road match at defending Southern Conference Champion Western Carolina Aug. 28, ETSU welcomes Liberty to Summers-Taylor Stadium for its home opener Aug. 30. Overall, ETSU has yet to lose a home opener at Summers-Taylor Stadium, defeating Morehead State last season, while tying Tennessee Tech 2-2, back in 2007.
After its opening match at home ETSU will travel to face its third consecutive league champion on the road, as the Bucs take on reigning Big South winner Radford Sept. 4. The Bucs will follow that contest up with its last non-conference home match Sept. 6 as UNC-Asheville makes the short trip over to Johnson City.
After facing one SEC powerhouse to open the season, the Bucs will make its toughest road trip of the year facing both Mississippi and Mississippi State in a span of two days Sept. 11 and 13. ETSU last faced Ole Miss back in 2007, while its match with the Bulldogs marks the first in program history.
After their quick trip through Mississippi, the Bucs will face its final defending conference champion as reigning Atlantic 10 winner UNC-Charlotte welcomes ETSU to the D. L. Phillips Soccer Complex Sept. 18. The nationally ranked 49ers are coming off their most successful season in program history making it to the second-round of the College Cup, after winning their second straight A-10 tournament.
"It's exciting to have the good fortune and continue to add new SEC teams like Tennessee and Mississippi State to our schedule," said Henson. "I know both teams are elite programs on the national level. Also playing teams of a national caliber like Charlotte gives our girls a great opportunity to face some of the top competition around. This experience and exposure will help continue to build success here at ETSU."
With the non-conference schedule complete the Bucs return home with its first two A-Sun matches against North Florida, Sept. 25 and Jacksonville, Sept. 27.
As October rolls around ETSU will have three straight league road matches starting at defending league champion Belmont, Oct. 2. After back-to-back trips to Lipscomb, Oct. 4 and Campbell, Oct. 8, the Bucs return to Summers-Taylor Stadium for the final time with three straight home matches to close out play on the ETSU campus.
The Bucs will take on both USC-Upstate on Oct. 12 and Mercer Oct. 16, before welcoming league-rival Kennesaw State for a 2:30 p.m., contest Oct. 18 on senior day.
As the regular season rounds out ETSU will take its last road trip of the 2009 slate closing out the year in Florida with matches at Florida Gulf Coast Oct. 23 and Stetson Oct. 25. The Bucs swept the Sunshine state duo last season, dropping the Hatters 1-0, before winning a trilling 2-1 double overtime match against the Eagles on senior day.
The Bucs round out the season with it's quest for a first-ever A-Sun tournament title Oct. 31 as the league's top six teams battle it out for a chance to represent the conference in the 2009 College Cup.
Attached above is a copy of the 2009 Women's soccer schedule.
For more information on the ETSU women's soccer team please visit ETSUBucs.com.