UNCG releases challenging 2011 women's soccer slate
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Coming off the best season in school history, UNCG's women's soccer team will face a difficult 19-match schedule in 2011, first-year coach Steve Nugent announced Tuesday. The Spartans' upcoming slate features four NCAA participants from last season, including 20-time NCAA champion North Carolina.
UNCG will also host the 2011 Southern Conference Women's Soccer Championship at the UNCG Soccer Stadium from Nov. 4-6.
The Spartans, who went 19-2-1 last season to match or set school records for most wins and fewest losses, will take on 2010 NCAA tournament teams North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech in 2011. UNCG, itself an NCAA tourney team last year, will face five teams that were ranked in the top 25 at some point last season, with Georgia joining the group of the four Atlantic Coast Conference schools.
In addition to Georgia, UNCG will also face Tennessee from the Southeastern Conference, as well as Conference USA opponent East Carolina and Colonial Athletic Association foe George Mason to round out the nonconference slate.
The Spartans will host a Blue & Gold scrimmage on Aug. 7 and North Georgia College for an exhibition on Aug. 13 before opening the regular season at George Mason on Aug. 19. The Patriots, who can claim a national title of their own in their storied history, went 11-7-2 last season, with Omolyn Davis earning All-America honors and being selected in the Women's Professional Soccer draft.
UNCG will then return home for a pair of games against ACC teams. The Spartans will host Virginia Tech on Aug. 21 then take on Wake Forest at the UNCG Soccer Stadium on Aug. 26 in the first game of a doubleheader with UNCG's men's team, which will play Duke later in the evening. Last year, UNCG knocked off then-No. 10 Wake Forest on the road to jump into the national rankings for the first time on the season. The Spartans would peak at No. 10 nationally late in the year.
A road contest at East Carolina follows on Aug. 28 before UNCG welcomes Tennessee to Greensboro on Sept. 4 to open what will likely be the Spartans' toughest stretch of the season. The following week will see the Spartans take part in a tournament hosted by Duke. UNCG will face North Carolina – which spent several weeks at No. 1 last season and finished the year ranked in the top six of every major poll – on Sept. 9 before taking on the host Blue Devils two days later. Duke finished the 2010 season ranked 20th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Hendrickcars.com Top 25. Both teams advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament.
A three-game homestand follows from Sept. 16-25, kicking off with a contest against Georgia, where Nugent coached for three years prior to taking over the reins at UNCG. The match wraps up nonconference play for the Spartans, whose non-league foes went a combined 94-60-18 (.599) in 2010. All eight nonconference foes on the 2011 slate went .500 or better last season.
The Spartans, who went 11-0 in the Southern Conference in 2010 to claim their fifth straight regular-season title, open league play Homecoming weekend against Chattanooga on Sept. 23 and take on Samford two days later. UNCG and the Bulldogs have formed quite a rivalry in the three seasons since Samford joined the league, with the Bulldogs handing UNCG two of its three regular-season SoCon blemishes (a tie and a Samford win) in that span. The Spartans took a pair of 1-0 wins over the Bulldogs last season, with one of those coming in the SoCon Championship title game.
After the homestand, UNCG will embark on a season-long four-match road swing, starting Sept. 30 at Georgia Southern. The Spartans will play at Davidson on Oct. 2, at The Citadel on Oct. 7 and at College of Charleston on Oct. 9.
UNCG returns home the following weekend to host Wofford (Oct. 14) and Furman (Oct. 16) before heading up to Cullohwee, N.C., for a contest at Western Carolina on Oct. 20. The Spartans close the regular season with a pair of home contests, hosting Appalachian State on Oct. 23 and Elon on Oct. 26.
The top four seeds will host first-round contests in the eight-team SoCon Championship, with the semifinal and final rounds being held in Greensboro.
The first round of the NCAA tournament begins Nov. 11, while the College Cup will be held in Kennesaw, Ga., on Dec. 2-4.
"We are excited about the schedule put together for this coming fall," Nugent said. "It will be extremely competitive for our players as we test ourselves against teams historically competing in the NCAA tournament from some of the toughest women's soccer conferences.
"In addition to the established rivalries that we have in our conference, we play arguably one of the toughest nonconference schedules of any women's team in the country. These games will do very well in preparing our team for a tough 11-game Southern Conference schedule and the NCAA tournament."
2011 UNCG women's soccer schedule
Aug. 7 Blue & Gold Game (scrimmage), 7 p.m.; Aug. 13 vs. North Georgia College (exh.), 7 p.m.; Aug. 19 at George Mason, 7 p.m.; Aug. 21 vs. Virginia Tech, 2 p.m.; Aug. 26 vs. Wake Forest, 6 p.m.; Aug. 28 at East Carolina, 6 p.m.; Sept. 4 vs. Tennessee, 2 p.m.; Sept. 9 vs. North Carolina (at Duke tournament, Durham, N.C.), 5 p.m.; at Duke (at Duke tournament), 2:30 p.m.; Sept. 16 vs. Georgia, 7 p.m.; Sept. 23 vs. Chattanooga*, 7 p.m.; Sept. 25 vs. Samford*, 2 p.m.; Sept. 30 at Georgia Southern*, 2 p.m.; Oct. 2 at Davidson*, 2 p.m.; Oct. 7 at The Citadel*, 4 p.m.; Oct. 9 at College of Charleston*, 1 p.m.; Oct. 14 vs. Wofford*, 7 p.m.; Oct. 16 vs. Furman*, 2 p.m.; Oct. 20 at Western Carolina*, 7 p.m.; Oct. 23 vs. Appalachian State*, 2 p.m.; Oct. 26 vs. Elon*, 7 p.m.; Oct. 30 SoCon first round (campus sites), TBA; Nov. 4-6 SoCon Championship (Greensboro, N.C.); Nov. 11-13 NCAA first and second rounds (campus sites); Nov. 18-20 NCAA third round (campus sites); Nov. 25-27 NCAA quarterfinals (campus sites); Dec. 2-4 Women's College Cup (Kennesaw, Ga.).
* Southern Conference match
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