EDWARDSVILLE — First-year Southern Illinois University Edwardsville wrestling head coach Jeremy Spates knows that setting up the right kind of schedule is important to his program.
"I think it's important that we challenge our wrestlers so they are ready for the postseason," said Spates. "I really like our schedule this year."
The season begins with the annual Red and Black Intrasquad meet at the Vadalabene Center. The opening matches will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 30.
The Cougars face four teams which finished among the top 20 at last year's NCAA Championships. That begins with a dual against Illinois, which placed ninth nationally last season. SIUE will face the Fighting Illini at Glenbard East High School as part of a four-team dual Nov. 17. The Cougars also meet Ouachita Baptist at Lincoln Way East High School and Arizona State at Glenbard East.
SIUE opens its home schedule Nov. 24 when the Cougars entertain Purdue University in a dual at the Vadalabene Center.
Missouri makes its return to the Vadalabene Center on Jan. 11 when the Cougars face the Tigers for a 7 p.m. meet.
SIUE also has home matches with Southern Conference rival Chattanooga (Jan. 19), Buffalo (Feb. 9), Eastern Michigan (Feb. 9), Grand Canyon (Feb. 9), Campbellsville (Feb. 9), Lindenwood-Belleville (Feb. 15), and Indiana (Feb. 15).
"We have a solid home schedule this year," said Spates. "We are really looking forward to getting the season underway and seeing where we are at as a team."
SIUE's road schedule includes Indiana (Dec. 7), West Virginia (Dec. 7), Northern Colorado (Dec. 7), Drexel (Dec. 7), Northwestern (Dec. 15), Northern Illinois (Jan. 4), and North Carolina (Feb. 22).
"We have a good variety with teams from the Big Ten, Big 12, Western Wrestling Conference, Pac 12, Mid-American, and the SoCon on the schedule," said Spates. "I think seeing all these different styles will prepare our team for what they will see at the national tournament."
The SoCon schedule begins Dec. 8 when the Cougars face VMI in a dual meet while competing at Indiana. SIUE also has SoCon road matches against Gardner-Webb (Feb. 19), Campbell (Dec. 19), The Citadel (Feb. 22), Davidson (Feb. 23), and Appalachian State (Feb. 23).
The SoCon Tournament is set for March 8 at Buies Creek, N.C.