Men's Soccer Set To Host Belmont In Exhibition Opener
Aug 16, 2013
CINCINNATI – The No. 22 Xavier men’s soccer team, led by Preseason All-BIG EAST selections Nick Hagglund (Cincinnati, Ohio/Lakota West HS) and Matt Walker (Batavia, Ohio/Batavia HS), opens the fall season with an exhibition match against Belmont on Sunday night (7 p.m.) at the XU Soccer Complex. The Musketeers then head to Fort Wayne, Ind. for their final exhibition match, where they will face Loyola (IL) in the Shindigz National Soccer Festival on Aug. 23 at 8 p.m.
“It will be a nice change of pace to play against another team and to get a gauge on where we are at in all facets of our program,” said head coach Andy Fleming. “For me an exhibition game covers everything from the warmup, to the pregame meal, our game day operations and so many other small factors that the naked eye doesn’t see.”
“Like most teams, we will come away with some things to work on and some areas that we might have previously addressed,” Fleming said. “We will be missing several key players due to nagging injuries and will look at several different combinations. Our new guys will get plenty of playing time as we use this game to develop our depth and make a small step forward towards our opener.”
Xavier is coming off a banner 2012 season (14-3-5 overall), which included the program's first NCAA Tournament at-large bid, tourney victory and third-straight appearance into the 48-team field. Additionally, the Musketeers posted a program-record 14 victories and set new marks for assists and total points. XU's final loss of the season came against Indiana, the eventual 2012 national champion. Individually, Luke Spencer became program's the first MLS Draft Pick (23rd pick, Second Round; New England Revolution) and Hagglund earned XU's first NSCAA All-American award. Outscoring the opposition 31-8 with four shutouts during the 2012 campaign, Xavier finished with a 9-0-1 record on their home pitch. Dating back to the 2011 season, the Musketeers has gone 14-1-2 over their last 17 home contests and are currently riding a 13-match home unbeaten streak (11-0-2).
Xavier’s returning 17 players, including eight starters from last season, along with nine newcomers will navigate a 2013 slate that features matchups against six 2012 NCAA Tournament teams, including two that advanced to the Final Four. The Blue and White open the regular season on Friday, Aug. 30 (5 p.m.) when they battle Furman on day one of the College of Charleston tournament.