EDWARDSVILE — Coming off an appearance in their first-ever Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville women's soccer program has announced its slate of games for the 2013 season.
Nine home games at Korte Stadium, including six OVC contests, and nine road games, including a tournament, highlight the Cougars' ledger.
"I like the balance in our schedule," SIUE coach Derek Burton said. "As usual in the non-conference schedule, we play a collection of strong programs from the region starting out the regular season on the road, which will be a great test for us."
The Cougars open the regular season Aug. 23 with a 7 p.m. game at Missouri-Kansas City, now a member of the Western Athletic Conference. SIUE remains on the road for a 1 p.m. game Aug. 25 at Drake before opening the home season Fri., Aug. 30, when IUPUI comes to Edwardsville for a 7 p.m. contest.
The Cougars travel to local rival Saint Louis Fri., Sept. 6, in a 7 p.m. game before three straight home matches. Indiana State (Sept. 8), Loyola (Sept. 13), and Missouri State (Sept. 15) all come to Korte Stadium during the home stand.
SIUE then travels to Fargo, N.D., for the Doublewood Inn Classic where they will face Eastern Washington (Sept. 20) and Colorado State (Sept. 22).
"I do like to have at least one new out of region opponent each season, and this fall we'll get two at the North Dakota State Tournament," Burton added. "I'm looking forward to the trip and the opportunity to face some teams that we've never matched up against. The athletes will get a chance to see a region of the country they aren't so familiar with, which also will be enjoyable."
OVC play commences with a string of four straight home games beginning Sept. 27 against Tennessee Tech. The Cougars also will host OVC foes Belmont (Sept. 29), Eastern Kentucky (Oct. 4), Morehead State (Oct. 6), and Jacksonville State (Oct. 20).
SIUE will travel to Murray State (Oct. 11), Austin Peay (Oct. 13), Southeast Missouri (Oct. 25), UT Martin (Oct. 27), and Eastern Illinois (Nov. 2) for conference games.
"The OVC will be a gauntlet as usual," Burton said. "It's always tough to get conference points, especially on the road. But our group is looking forward to the challenge of building on 2012 and playing our way up the standings this fall."
The Cougars earned the sixth seed in last season's OVC tournament, knocking off Eastern Kentucky in penalty kicks before falling in the semifinals to Austin Peay.
"It's never easy and this season will be no different," Burton added. "It's a challenge that every single person in our program has been preparing for since our last game in the OVC Tournament in November."