Xavier Men's Soccer Unveils 2014 Schedule
June 5, 2014
CINCINNATI – Ready to embark on the program’s second season as a member of the BIG EAST Conference, the Xavier men’s soccer program and head coach Andy Fleming announced the 2014 schedule. The 20-game slate features two exhibition games, 10 home contests and includes eight matches against opponents that competed in the NCAA Tournament a season ago.
“This is another challenging slate without question,” said Fleming. “Between the success we’ve had and the conference we play in, this is part of the road to competing for an NCAA tournament berth. Although our eyes are wide open to and aware of the demands of the schedule, I won’t say that we are phased by it or not capable of handling it.”
Aside from the nine BIG EAST contests, the Musketeers will square off in 11 non-conferences matches (two exhibitions) against teams from the Big Ten, Summit League, Atlantic Sun, Missouri Valley, Ivy, American, SEC, Patriot League, WCC and ACC. Nine of the opponents on the upcoming slate finished the 2013 season in the top 50 of the RPI, including five in the top 30.
“Once again we have been able to bring Top 25 national level soccer to our home stadium,” Fleming said. “Our local derby with Cincinnati will be on a Saturday night for the first time which should lead to an electric environment. Add in the other Big East games and Loyola Marymount coming through and you have a nice blend of styles and programs on display.”
Xavier will play a pair of exhibition matches to prep for the season, starting with the 2013 Big Ten Champion and 2012 NCAA National Champion Indiana Hoosiers on Tuesday, Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Bloomington, Ind. The Musketeers will then head to the Shindigz National Soccer Festival in Fort Wayne, Ind., facing the IPFW Mastodons on Saturday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.
The Blue and White open the regular season with a home match against Atlantic Sun Conference opponent Lipscomb on Friday, August 29. The Bisons finished the 2013 season with nine wins, the most since 2010, and advanced to the semifinals of the A-Sun Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.
Starting a two-game road trip to begin the year, XU will head to Madison, Wis. on Sunday, Aug. 31 to battle the Wisconsin Badgers. In 2013, Wisconsin established itself as one of the country’s premiere collegiate soccer programs. After three seasons of working toward building a program that mirrored the success of UW’s teams of the 90’s, the Badgers earned their first postseason berth since 1995, while owning the country’s longest current home unbeaten streak (14).
The final game of the first road trip of the season will have Xavier travel to Peoria, Ill. to face Bradley on Thursday, Sept. 4. The Braves, who took the 2013 Valley Conference title, finished last season with a 14-7-2 overall record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling 3-1 to fourth-seeded and sixth-ranked California.
XU will then host back-to-back matches, welcoming Cornell (Sept. 7) and crosstown rival Cincinnati (Sept. 13) to the Xavier Soccer Complex. The Big Red finished the 2013 campaign with an 8-5-4 overall record and a 2-4-1 in conference play, while the Bearcats wrapped up the year 6-12-1 overall (1-7-0 American) and lost the 2013 Crosstown Shootout, 1-0, to XU.
Xavier heads to Lexington, Ky. on Tuesday, Sept. 16 to take on SEC foe Kentucky. The Wildcats will be in their third season under head coach Johan Cedergren’s guidance. UK posted their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2012, Cedergren’s first season at the helm. Kentucky hosted Xavier in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, but fell to the Musketeers, 1-0, after Luke Spencer tallied a late goal to give Xavier the first NCAA Tournament victory in program history.
The Blue and White then visits Bucknell (Sept. 20) before hosting reigning West Coast Conference champion LMU (Sept. 23).
A nine-game BIG EAST slate starts on Saturday, Sept. 27 as the St. John’s Red Storm come to town. A mid-week battle follows that with the Providence College Friars on Saturday, Oct. 4 in Providence, R.I. Last season, the BIG EAST solidified its status as one of the premier men's soccer conferences in the nation, sending five of 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament.
The final non-conference game on the slate will put the Musketeers up against ACC foe Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Oct. 7 at the XU Soccer Complex. With a 2-0 loss at Notre Dame in their 2013 season finale, the Panthers ended their season with a 1-11-4 (0-9-2 ACC) record.
From there the heart of the BIG EAST schedule awaits. XU heads to Seton Hall, for the Pirates’ conference home opener on Saturday, Oct. 11, before returning to Cincinnati to host DePaul (Oct. 15) and Creighton (Oct. 18).
Two of Xavier’s final four opponents were NCAA Tournament teams a year ago. Xavier hits the road to battle 2013 BIG EAST Tournament champion Marquette on Oct. 25 before heading to the nation’s capital to face the Hoyas of Georgetown in the final midweek game of the year (Oct. 29).
XU closes out the 2014 regular season slate with Villanova on Nov. 1 and Butler on Senior Day (Nov. 7).
The 2014 BIG EAST Tournament format is unchanged from a year ago with the top six teams in the conference standings qualifying for postseason play. The top two seeds will receive a bye to the semifinals while the two quarterfinal matchups will take place at campus sites on Nov. 11.
Xavier finished the 2013 campaign at 10-7-2, missing the BIG EAST regular season championship by one point and being one of the final few teams on the other side of NCAA tournament bubble. XU went 4-3 against teams who made the tournament. The 2013 campaign marked the program’s fourth straight 10-win season.
2014 Xavier Men’s Soccer Schedule
^ Exhibition Matches