Coming off an exciting year when UNCW posted a 13-5-2 record and earned a win over Bucknell in the NCAA Tournament before bowing to eventual national champion Virginia, the Seahawks 2015 men’s soccer schedule is lining up to be a grueling test for a program that has enjoyed growth and success over the past few years.
A group of five teams which qualified for the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship a year ago will be among the 18 opponents UNCW will face during the regular season, according to Coach Aidan Heaney.
“We have an exciting schedule lined up for 2015,” said Heaney. “Playing so many tough opponents should prepare our players for the rigors of the CAA, while also giving us a chance of a strong RPI with our strength of schedule. I am confident our players will be ready for the challenge.”
The regular season will begin on Friday, Aug. 28, when the Seahawks host High Point at UNCW Soccer Stadium in the first of 10 home matches.
After visiting UNC-Greensboro on Monday, Aug. 31, the Seahawks will return home to begin a three-match homestand with the UNCW Courtyard Wilmington-Wrightsville Beach Classic during Labor Day weekend. The Seahawks will face North Florida on Friday, Sept. 4, before hosting Campbell on Sunday, Sept. 6. Colonial Athletic Association rival Elon will also be part of the four-team field.
UNCW, which advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year, will complete the homestand by entertaining South Carolina on Saturday, Sept. 12.
Following a pair of road contests at Duke (Sept. 15) and Hofstra (Sept. 19), the Seahawks will welcome CAA foes Northeastern and College of Charleston in back-to-back matches at UNCW Soccer Stadium on Sept. 26 and Sept. 30, respectively.
The Seahawks will travel to James Madison on Saturday, Oct. 3, to face the defending CAA champion Dukes in a re-match of last year’s semifinals, which JMU won by a 2-0 margin. It will be the first of back-to-back road contests for the Seahawks, who will face North Carolina at Fetzer Field on Oct. 6.
UNCW will play four of its final seven matches on its home field and after completing the CAA schedule with a trip to Delaware on Oct. 25, the Seahawks will host Florida Gulf Coast on Oct. 31, before wrapping up the regular season at UNC-Charlotte on Nov. 3.
“We will look to build on last season’s successes and the players, staff and I can’t wait to get started in August,” said Heaney. “We have a good group of freshmen joining the squad and a core of experienced players returning. Our fans, who were amazing last year, will be able to see some high level games at home, so we will be looking for their support again.”
In addition to their regular season slate, the Seahawks will host Coastal Carolina in an exhibition match at UNCW Soccer Stadium on Aug. 15 before a road exhibition match at Winthrop on Aug. 23.