ELON, N.C. – Elon University head women’s soccer coach Chris Neal announced the Phoenix’s schedule for the 2012 season today, May 30, which begins on August 17 at home when the maroon and gold welcomes the Cincinnati Bearcats to campus for a 7 p.m. match.
“I am very excited and have tremendous expectations for our team in 2012,” commented Neal. “We return ten starters and eighteen total players including five seniors and eight juniors. Experience should not be an issue. Their investment and commitment between now and August is paramount. We also have six very talented freshmen coming in that should immediately challenge for starting roles if they report to preseason in top physical condition.”
Following its season opener versus UC, Elon makes the short trek to Durham, N.C., on August 19 for key matchup with the 2011 national runner-up Duke Blue Devils. Elon and Duke have met four times prior to the 2012 season.
Five days later, Elon plays its second straight road game when it heads to Lexington, Va., for its first ever meeting against Virginia Military Institute on August 24. Elon and VMI were scheduled to play one another in 2009, but heavy rains in Lexington forced the cancellation.
Following a home match against Coastal Carolina on August 30, the Phoenix plays its second Atlantic Coast Conference team of the season when it takes on NC State in Raleigh, N.C., on Sept. 2. Elon and NC State have met 11 times on the pitch prior to this year’s match.
On Sept. 7-9, the Phoenix gets its first taste of tournament action when it heads to Wilmington, N.C., for the UNC Wilmington Tournament. Elon takes on Troy on Sept. 7 at 5 p.m. before facing Campbell at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 9.
Elon wraps up a four-match road swing on Sept. 14 when it takes on local rival High point. The Phoenix blanked the Panthers at Rudd Field last season, as a pair of Bethany Houpt goals lifted Elon to a 2-0 victory.
Following its final non-conference match of the season on Sept. 16 at home against Francis Marion, the Phoenix opens league play on Sept. 21 with a trip to Cullowhee, N.C., to face Western Carolina. Elon won the last meeting over the Catamounts in dramatic fashion, as a Simi Dhaliwal golden goal in the 110th minute of double overtime gave the Phoenix a 2-1 win.
Elon returns to the friendly confines of Rudd Field for its next three matches, as the Phoenix takes on Appalachian State (Sept. 23), The Citadel (Sept. 28) and College of Charleston (Sept. 30).
The Phoenix begins October with back-to-back road contests, as the Phoenix heads to Wofford on Oct. 5 and Furman on Oct. 7.
After two home games against Georgia Southern (Oct. 12) and Davidson (Oct. 14), Elon makes its longest road trip of the season when it takes on Chattanooga on Oct. 19 and conference champion Samford on Oct. 21.
Elon closes out the regular season at home, as the Phoenix welcomes local rival UNCG to Rudd Field on Oct. 24.
The 2012 SoCon Women’s Soccer Championship will begin on campus sites on Oct. 28 before the final four teams head to Birmingham, Ala., on Nov. 2 and 4.