Southern Illinois University Edwardsville men's soccer Head Coach Scott Donnelly announced a demanding 2014 schedule that features eight home contests and four matches against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
The Cougars enter the 2014 season after a highly successful spring campaign in which the team finished undefeated and captured the annual Governor's Cup for the first time since 2005. SIUE closed out the 2013 fall season with an appearance in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament and appeared in the national rankings for the second consecutive campaign.
The Cougars return five seniors on the 2014 roster as well as 10 starters from a year ago.
"We're looking forward to the 2014 season and a strong and diverse schedule," said Donnelly. "For us to continue moving forward towards the level we plan to reach, we want challenging schedules and want to see our group meet these challenges. If we prepare well, I expect that we will."
After two exhibition contests, the first at home against Oakland (Aug. 15) and a trip to IUPUI for the second (Aug. 22), SIUE will open the regular season at home. Both Virginia Tech (Aug. 29) and Tulsa (Aug. 31) visit Korte Stadium for opening weekend contests.
The SIUE home non-conference schedule also includes Saturday night contests with Butler (Sept. 6) and DePaul (Sept. 19), both Big East Conference members.
A challenging non-conference road slate awaits the Cougars. SIUE travels to Memphis (Sept. 3), Missouri-Kansas City (Sept. 10), Stanford (Sept. 19), California (Sept. 21), Northern Illinois (Oct. 22), Louisville (Oct. 28), and Eastern Illinois (Nov. 4).
Donnelly's scheduling will test his players as three non-conference opponents finished in the NSCAA Top 25 to end 2013. California advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament and earned a No. 6 final ranking, while Stanford, also a NCAA quarterfinalist, and Louisville were ranked 21st and 18th, respectively.
The MVC season kicks off Sept. 29 when the Cougars travel to Evansville.
SIUE's home conference schedule includes Bradley (Oct. 4), Drake (Oct. 18), and Missouri State (Nov. 1). All three matches will be on Saturdays under the lights at Korte Stadium with start times of 7 p.m.
The remainder of the MVC schedule includes dates at Central Arkansas (Oct. 11) and Loyola (Nov. 8).
The MVC Men's Soccer Championship will again be held in Peoria from Nov. 12-16.
Season tickets are now available by contacting SIUE at 855-SIUE-TIX. The cost of a men's soccer season pass is just $35.