HIGH POINT, N.C. – Following the second Big South regular season championship in program history, head coach EJ O’Keeffe announced an exciting 2018 schedule for High Point University men’s soccer Thursday.
Including exhibitions, the Panthers are slated to battle 10 teams that ranked among the top-100 in last year’s RPI, including three top-10 opponents. Nine of High Point’s 13 non-conference clashes feature a top-100 opponent with one team placed just outside of the top-100.
“We are looking forward to the schedule we have this coming fall,” O’Keeffe said. “It’s a challenging non-conference slate that will prepare us for the always difficult Big South schedule. We want to push our players every game to compete at the highest level and I feel we’ve done that with this schedule.”
HPU opens the season with a trio of exhibitions, beginning at perennial power Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. on Aug. 10. The Cavaliers are one of five NCAA tournament teams that Panthers will encounter this year. The Purple & White venture to Charlotte (Aug. 13) before wrapping up the preseason slate with a home matchup against UNCW (Aug. 18) on move-in weekend.
The Panthers open the regular season with four straight road games, and in total, will travel for six of the first seven games of the campaign. HPU visits Wofford (Aug. 24), Davidson (Aug. 27), and East Tennessee State (Sep. 1) to start the year before traveling across the Triad for the annual battle with UNCG (Sep. 4).
The home opener comes against local rival Elon on Sep. 8 before the Panthers head back out on the road for the first-ever encounter with Penn State (Sep. 11) in State College, Pa.
High Point opens conference play with a trip to the newest Big South member, USC Upstate on Sep. 18. The Panthers and Spartans tied 1-1 in a non-conference matchup last year.
HPU will then enjoy four of the next five games at Vert Stadium with the Big South home opener against Gardner-Webb (Sep. 22) on family weekend followed by a non-conference bout with Appalachian State (Sep. 25). After a trip to Winthrop (Sep. 29), High Point returns home for matchups with UNC Asheville (Oct. 3) and Longwood (Oct. 6) on homecoming.
The Panthers then renew acquaintances with a pair of top-10 foes by visiting Wake Forest (Oct. 9) and Duke (Oct. 16) in consecutive weeks. High Point played both national powers to extra time a year ago, eventually succumbing in double overtime and overtime, respectively.
The season wraps up with a trip to Campbell (Oct. 24), senior night against Radford (Oct. 27), and the much-anticipated rematch of the 2017 Big South Championship Game at Presbyterian (Oct. 31).
The Big South Championship will follow the same format as previous years with the top six teams advancing to the postseason. The top two seeds will earn first round byes and host a semifinal on Nov. 7. The first round, which will be hosted by the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, will take place on Nov. 4. The highest remaining seed will host the Big South Championship Game on Nov. 11.