Soccer Announces Strong 2010 Schedule

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
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Soccer Announces Strong 2010 Schedule

BATON ROUGE – While opening the 2010 season as the three-time defending SEC Western Division champion, the LSU soccer team will look to continue its run as one of the elite teams in the Southeastern Conference this fall as it competes against a strong regular-season schedule featuring nine teams that saw action in the NCAA Tournament a year ago.

Head coach Brian Lee announced a challenging slate of 19 regular-season fixtures on Thursday as LSU is set for eight non-conference matches before kicking off SEC play against Georgia on Sept. 24.

The Tigers are looking to continue their momentum from the 2009 season in which they finished the year ranked as high as No. 14 in the national polls, while capturing their third-straight SEC Western Division championship and earning an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament for the third year in a row.

Not only that, but LSU was just one point shy of capturing its first overall SEC Championship in program history by finishing the season with a 15-4-5 overall record and an 8-2-1 mark with 25 points in the SEC.

“When we put together this schedule, we wanted to give our student-athletes every opportunity to achieve at the highest level as we continue to build one of the premier programs in women’s college soccer,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “We feel like we have the talent and depth needed to compete against the best teams in the country, but we’ll be a much younger team than we have been in recent years.

“With 10 true freshmen joining our program, it’s important for our team to compete against this caliber of a non-conference schedule so that we know what to expect in the SEC.”

After opening with a preseason exhibition match against the Texas Longhorns on Aug. 14 in Austin, LSU will face four teams in its non-conference schedule that competed in the NCAA Tournament a year ago.

The Tigers will kick off the regular season at home on Sunday, Aug. 22 as they take on South Alabama at 1 p.m. CT at the LSU Soccer Complex. They will then face their first NCAA Tournament team from a year ago when they go on the road to take on the defending Conference USA Tournament champions and NCAA Tournament veterans from Memphis on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m.

Two programs that earned No. 3 national seeds in the last year’s NCAA Tournament will host LSU on the first weekend of September as the Tigers battle Wake Forest on Sept. 3 at 6:30 p.m. and Virginia Tech on Sept. 5 at 10:30 a.m. Both matches will be played at Spry Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Wake Forest earned a spot in the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament and finished the 2009 campaign as high as No. 8 in the national rankings with a 16-6-2 overall record. Virginia Tech advanced to the Sweet 16 and finished the season ranked as high as No. 10 in the national rankings with a 16-8-0 mark.

The Tigers will also go on the road to take on NCAA Tournament veterans BYU in match scheduled for a kickoff on Sept. 9 in Provo, Utah. The start time of the match has yet to be determined.

As winners of three-straight SEC Western Division titles, the Tigers will open defense of their crown with a road trip to Athens, Ga., to take on the Georgia Bulldogs in their SEC opener on Sept. 24. The Bulldogs are one of five clubs in the SEC that LSU will face in 2010 that competed in the 2009 NCAA Tournament last season. The SEC matched an all-time high with six clubs competing in the postseason a year ago.

LSU welcomes a pair of NCAA Tournament teams to Baton Rouge during the conference season in 2010 with matches against Auburn on Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. and No. 3 national seed Florida on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.

The Tigers will also play host to Alabama on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m., Kentucky on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. Vanderbilt on Oct. 10 at 1 p.m. and Arkansas on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at the LSU Soccer Complex.

Also on the schedule are road fixtures against NCAA Tournament programs Ole Miss on Oct. 15 and No. 2 national seed South Carolina Oct. 24. Start times for both matches have yet to be determined. In fact, Wake Forest knocked South Carolina out of the NCAA Tournament last year as the Gamecocks advanced to the Sweet 16. Ole Miss was eliminated in the first round.

The 2010 Southeastern Conference Women’s Soccer Tournament returns to the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala., on Nov. 3-7. The Tigers finished runner-up in the event last fall after advancing to the SEC Tournament final for the first time in program history.

The first and second rounds of the 2010 NCAA Tournament are scheduled for Nov. 12-14 with this year’s NCAA Women’s College Cup returning to the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., on Dec. 3-5.