GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG men’s soccer coach Justin Maullin has lined up a challenging 2012 schedule that will feature home contests against NC State, Clemson and 2011 NCAA College Cup finalist Charlotte as part of the 17-match regular-season slate.
In all, five NCAA tournament teams from 2011 appear on UNCG’s schedule, including Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Duke, Elon and Furman.
“I think, as a staff, we’ve worked very hard to get a schedule together that’s very demanding of the players, but we wanted to put the players in a position to get an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament should we not win the conference tournament,” Maullin said. “It’s a schedule full of big names, but to those don’t know college soccer, it’s full of names that aren’t traditionally big names. But to soccer coaches, those are very big schools and big names. It’s a very challenging schedule, but if we take care of the games we need to take care of, we’ll give ourselves a chance to get in the tournament through a strong RPI.”
The Spartans, who went 10-8-2 overall last season and 5-1-1 in Southern Conference play for their second straight regular-season title, will kick off the 2012 campaign with a trio of exhibition matches. UNCG will host Anderson on Aug. 16 and Catawaba two days later at UNCG Soccer Stadium before heading to Rock Hill, S.C., for an exhibition match at Winthrop on Aug. 20.
The regular season starts on Aug. 24, when UNCG will head to Wilmington, N.C., to take on UNCW and kick off a four-match road swing to open the 2012 campaign.
UNCG plays at East Tennessee State on Aug. 28 then takes on its first of four Big South Conference foes on the year at UNC Asheville on Sept. 2. A date at new Big South member Longwood follows two days later.
The Spartans will host NC State on Sept. 7 to open the home portion of the regular season before making the short trip to regional rival High Point on Sept. 12.
On Sept. 15, UNCG will host Charlotte, which was ranked in the top 10 and played for the national title last season. The 49ers downed defending national champion Akron in the third round of last season’s NCAA tournament before dropping a hotly contested 1-0 decision to North Carolina in their first-ever title game appearance.
An equally tough road stretch follows, starting with a contest at NCAA team Duke on Sept. 18. On Sept. 22, the Spartans head to Conway, S.C., for a match at defending Big South regular-season champion and NCAA participant Coastal Carolina. UNCG caps the road swing with its SoCon opener at Davidson on Sept. 25.
UNCG hosts consecutive home games for the first time with a four-match homestand from Sept. 29 to Oct. 9. The Spartans welcome Appalachian State on Sept. 29 before stepping back out of conference play to host Clemson on Oct. 2.
The Spartans are back into league play for the remainder of the season after that, starting with Wofford on Oct. 6. A bout with College of Charleston wraps up the homestand on Oct. 9.
UNCG gets back on the road at Georgia Southern on Oct. 20 before finishing the regular season with contests against the SoCon’s two NCAA teams from last season. Furman, which earned an at-large selection, will host the Spartans on Oct. 20, while UNCG will return home to close out the regular season against SoCon tournament champion Elon on Oct. 27. UNCG and Elon met in last season’s title match, with the Phoenix claiming a 3-2 victory to earn the postseason bid.
The SoCon tournament kicks off on Nov. 3 with the top four seeds hosting quarterfinal games, while the semifinals and final will be held at WakeMed Complex in Cary, N.C, on Nov. 9 and 11, respectively.
2012 UNCG men’s soccer schedule
Aug. 16 Anderson (exhibition), 7 p.m.
Aug. 18 Catawba (exhibition), 7 p.m.
Aug. 20 at Winthrop (exhibition), 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 at UNCW, 7 p.m.
Aug. 28 at East Tennessee State, 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 at UNC Asheville, 2:30 p.m.
Sept. 4 at Longwood, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 NC State, 8 p.m.
Sept. 12 at High Point, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 Charlotte, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 at Duke, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Coastal Carolina, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Davidson*, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 Appalachian State*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 Clemson, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 Wofford *, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 College of Charleston*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Georgia Southern*, TBD
Oct. 20 at Furman*, 6 p.m.
Oct. 27 Elon*, 7 p.m.
Nov. 3 Southern Conference Championship quarterfinals (top four seeds host), TBD
Nov. 9 SoCon Championship semifinals (WakeMed Complex, Cary, N.C.), TBD
Nov. 11 SoCon Championship final (WakeMed Complex, Cary, N.C.), TBD.
* Southern Conference match
All times Eastern