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Soccer Announces Strong 2013 Schedule

Soccer Announces Strong 2013 Schedule

BATON ROUGE – As the LSU Soccer team prepares for another challenging SEC season in 2013, the Tigers will face a non-conference slate featuring a home match with 2012 Elite Eight qualifier BYU before and a trip to the Minnesota Gold Classic to battle Minnesota and Southern California as part of their 19-game schedule announced Thursday.

The Tigers will play host to Nicholls State in an exhibition match on Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. CT before opening the 2013 season on Friday, Aug. 23, at 7 p.m. as they welcome Louisiana Tech to the LSU Soccer Stadium.

After also hosting Louisiana-Monroe on Tuesday, Aug. 27, and TCU on Friday, Aug. 30, with a pair of 7 p.m. kickoffs, the Tigers will wrap up their four-game homestand to open the season by welcoming BYU to the LSU Soccer Stadium in Baton Rouge for a Monday Night Futbol match on Sept. 2 with the opening kick again set for 7 p.m.

The Cougars are the reigning West Coast Conference Champions after wrapping up the 2012 campaign with a sparkling 20-2-2 record en route to a berth in the Elite Eight as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Tournament. LSU and BYU have enjoyed a competitive rivalry in recent years that includes a 0-0 draw in Provo, Utah, in their last meeting in 2011.

The Tigers follow a home match with BYU with their first road trip of 2013 as they head to Minneapolis, Minn., for an appearance at the Minnesota Gold Classic hosted by the University of Minnesota.

The Tigers face the homestanding Minnesota Golden Gophers on Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. followed by a match against the USC Trojans on Sept. 8 at 11 a.m. as part of the Minnesota Gold Classic. The Trojans feature a national championship program while claiming the NCAA crown during the 2007 season. The Gophers most recently advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 as part of a successful 2011 campaign.

LSU wraps up the non-conference season with a trip through the state of Texas with a pair of matches at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches on Sept. 13 and Rice in Houston on Sept. 15.

“We always have two things in mind when we put together our non-conference schedule each season,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “We certainly want to prepare our team for the start of SEC play. Our conference is as strong as it has ever been with the number of quality programs that can make the NCAA Tournament, so we need to face that level of competition in our preparation.

“We also want to give our team the opportunity to build an NCAA Tournament resume early in the season by playing the best teams in the country. We’re excited to have BYU coming to Baton Rouge this year for what should be a great matchup. They were clearly one of the top teams in the country last season. The schedule we’ve put together certainly meets the standards we hope to achieve each year.”

Following an eight-game non-conference slate, the Tigers open up SEC play on the road in Nashville, Tenn., against Vanderbilt as they face the Commodores on Saturday, Sept. 21, with kickoff set for 6 p.m.

Among LSU’s home slate are SEC matches with Tennessee on Friday, Sept. 27, Mississippi State on Sunday, Sept. 29, Missouri on Friday, Oct. 11, Ole Miss on Friday, Oct. 18, and Georgia on Friday, Oct. 25. Both Missouri and Tennessee earned an at-large berth into the first round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago to wrap up their 2012 season.

The Tigers face a challenging road slate in conference play as three of their last four SEC matches of the regular season are on the campuses of NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago. After going on the road to face Arkansas on Oct. 4 and Alabama on Oct. 6, the Tigers battle a trio of NCAA Tournament qualifiers at Florida in Gainesville on Oct. 20, Kentucky in Lexington on Oct. 27 and Texas A&M in College Station on Oct. 31.

Florida is the defending SEC Champion while advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Texas A&M also earned a spot in the NCAA Sweet 16, while Kentucky advanced to the NCAA Second Round in 2012.

The SEC Women’s Soccer Tournament returns to Orange Beach, Ala., for the ninth-straight season as the first round of the event is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 4, at the Orange Beach Sportsplex.

“We certainly feel that this is a very RPI-friendly schedule that will make our team attractive to the computers if we are able to win our share of games,” Lee said. “But this is also a schedule that will prepare our players to compete at the highest level on the field against the best teams in the country. That’s most important as we are already preparing for the start of another season of LSU Soccer.”