Women's Soccer Releases 2008 Schedule
STATESBORO, Ga. - The Georgia Southern women’s soccer team announces the 2008 schedule which is highlighted by a pair of early tournaments, four 2007 NCAA tournament contenders, first-time opponents and familiar Southern Conference foes.
The Eagles will start off the 19-game, 2008 campaign on the road in a first-ever clash with Gardner-Webb of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The game in Shelby, N.C. will commence a spell of six consecutive road games that will challenge the Eagles immediately.
“It gives us a chance for our players to play under tough circumstances,” said head coach Ashley Hart, who begins her fifth year at the helm. “We get used to playing on the road and usually we’re a pretty good road team. So I think it gets us used to the travel and it puts us in a tough situation so that we’re used to that when it really counts at the end of the season.”
As part of the road swing, the Eagles take flight outside of the region to the Midwest where they will battle Northern Iowa and Northern Illinois in the NIU Tournament, August 29-31, in DeKalb, Ill.
“We always try to get our players to see different parts of the country and play against different teams,” said Hart. “We’re excited to head up to Northern Illinois to play two teams we’ve never played in the past and to see some different soccer and different teams, and to see how we fare against teams in a different region. Both teams are very competitive within their conference so it will be a good chance, right from the start, to see what our strengths are.”
The following week, the Eagles will return back to the South for another tournament. Georgia Southern will face Charleston Southern and tournament host Coastal Carolina, Sep. 5-7.
“Coastal Carolina’s always a very strong team,” said Hart. “They’re one of the top teams in the Big South. I think we’re playing some tough teams right off the bat and on the road. It gets our kids used to travelling and playing against tough competition before we step into our conference portion of the season. Both Coastal Carolina and Charleston Southern are teams we’ve played in the past, and both have competed well in the Big South.”
Last year, Coastal Carolina played eventual tournament champion High Point to a scoreless tie in the Big South tournament, but fell 5-3 in penalty kicks.
Georgia Southern will then travel to Macon to face in-state foe Mercer (Sep. 12) before playing host for the first time of the new season in a two-game homestand. The Eagles will entertain Georgia State (Sep. 19) and 2007 Big South tournament champion and NCAA contender High Point (Sep. 21) at Eagle Field.
The Eagles will then hit the road to finally open up Southern Conference action, first off against Wofford (Sep. 26), then at defending 2007 SoCon tournament champion Furman (Sep. 28).
Georgia Southern will return back to Statesboro to play host to Chattanooga (Oct. 3) and SoCon newcomer, Samford (Oct. 5).
“I think we have a very tough soccer conference,” said Hart. “With the addition of Samford we have three (SoCon) teams that have made it to the NCAA tournament last year (Furman, Samford, UNC Greensboro). So we know that no matter who we’re playing - either on a Friday or a Sunday - that we’ve got to be ready to play.”
The Eagles will then make a brief road trip to The Citadel (Oct. 10) before returning back to Eagle Field for a three-game homestand versus College of Charleston (Oct. 12), Western Carolina (Oct. 17) and Appalachian State (Oct. 19).
With the addition of Samford to the conference, the number of teams increases to 12, which makes for easier travelling and less time on the road.
“It’s good for us because we have a long way to travel for a majority of our conference games,” said Hart. “So I think it will be a benefit for us. We’re either away for the whole weekend, or we’re home for the whole weekend, which cuts down on travel time and missed classes. And hopefully we’ll show up even more rested on Sunday games.”
The Eagles will hit the road once more, facing 2007 regular season champion UNC Greensboro (Oct. 24) and Elon (Oct. 26) before concluding the regular season versus Davidson back home on Eagle Field (Oct. 30).
With the experience of a whole season on their resume, the Eagles are confident that a routine diet of Friday/Sunday games against high-caliber teams will have prepared them well for the conference tournament.
“It will be nice to have a routine that our players get into that is consistent throughout the whole season,” said Hart. “With training and our off-days, they’ll consistently be in the same training and rest routine.”
The Southern Conference tournament is slated for Nov. 2, 7 and 9 at sites to be announced.
“Our goal is always to be competing in the conference tournament on that last day and I’m excited for the schedule. I think it prepares us well to do that this year.”
- Category: Women's Soccer
- Published on Thursday, 20 March 2008 00:17