Andy Fleming and Xavier's spring begins on March 28 against Bowling Green.
March 17, 2013
CINCINNATI - The Xavier men's soccer team's journey for a fourth-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament includes a spring schedule announced by head coach Andy Fleming that includes last year's top seed, a recent national runner-up and two of the last three national champions.
The Musketeers' six-match exhibition schedule begins March 23 and includes the likes of Notre Dame, Louisville, Akron and Indiana. Xavier also faces Bowling Green and AJAX of Ontario U-18's team.
"This schedule is our toughest ever and will be a bear of a challenge as we look to reshape and reinvent our team," fourth-year head coach Fleming said. "Our team personality this offseason has been wonderful and I think we have some guys who have been waiting for their turn and are chomping at the bit to play. We also have a senior class who is looking to cap off a storied four-year run.
Xavier is looking to build off a record season that includes 14 victories and the team's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory. If the team is looking to make a leap forward they will have to navigate a spring schedule that saw NCAA teams that went 73-25-11 last year.
"This is a great opportunity for us. I consider BGSU to be the up and coming team in the MAC and Louisville has just been to a national title game," Fleming said. "Along with recent national champions, Akron and Indiana, and the reigning Big East champion Notre Dame present great challenges for us."
"If you go back to the end of our 2010 regular season, this program has lost just 11 times in its last 60 contests. This spring we will look to learn some lessons and evolve while maintaining our winning mentality."
The Musketeers kick off the schedule hosting Bowling Green on March 23. They then travel to three of the toughest road environments in college soccer.
Xavier first visits Louisville on March 28 and will play a Cardinal team that has made six-straight NCAA appearances and were the 2010 national runner up. Last year Louisville went 14-6-1.
Up next is a rematch of the Musketeers' second round game against Indiana, a team that went on to win the national championship, April 5. The Hoosier defeated Xavier 4-1 in that match-up and continue an exhibition rivalry with the two squads.
The Musketeers wrap up their road portion of the spring by visiting Akron, the 2010 national champion, on April 13. The Zips and Musketeers tied in last spring's exhibition meeting in Cincinnati.
Xavier hosts a U18 game before facing Notre Dame on April 20 for the 2nd Annual Down Syndrome Awareness Classic. The Fighting Irish were last year's top seed and Big East Champion. The game is the featured match of the 2013 ADIDAS Blue Chip Showcase and all gate proceeds will benefit Devin's Team, named after Fleming's daughter who has Down syndrome.
The Musketeers return six starters from a team that set a new standard in the program's history. Xavier reached as high as ninth in a national poll.