ISU Soccer Announces 2012 Schedule
May 12, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State soccer team will play a 17-game schedule during its 2012 season, including three against teams that appeared in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, as announced by head coach Drew Roff Monday afternoon. The Redbirds are slated to play eight home matches, including two against NCAA Tournament teams Memphis, in an exhibition match, and Illinois.
ISU will open the season Aug. 17 at Southeast Missouri State, before returning home to host in-state rival and 2011 NCAA Tournament qualifier Illinois Aug. 19.
"Opening weekend will be a great test for us," Roff said. "Quality opponents like Southeast Missouri State and Illinois will really help us find out quickly what we are doing well and what we need to improve as a team. Both games will certainly be played at an intensity level that will set the tone for the rest of the season. That is exactly the kind of great competition we look for to kick things off."
After their matchup with the Fighting Illini, the Redbirds will travel to Fort Myers, Fla., for a pair of games at Florida Gulf Coast with Florida Atlantic (Aug. 24) and the host Eagles (Aug. 26). ISU will wrap up the three-game road swing with a match at in-state rival Northern Illinois (Aug. 31).
"Every year we take a trip outside of our region to play a couple of games against teams that we aren't that familiar with," Roff said. "Not only is it a great experience for our players to travel and see different parts of the country, it also helps us prepare for the travel and the different styles of play we hope to experience later in the season and in the NCAA Tournament."
Illinois State will return to its home pitch Sept. 2 when it hosts Western Michigan, before playing a trio of road games at Wisconsin (Sept. 9), Bowling Green (Sept. 14) and Toledo (Sept. 16). The Redbirds will welcome Green Bay to Adelaide Street Field (Sept. 19), before opening Missouri Valley Conference play at Evansville (Sept. 23).
"The games right before conference play will be very important," Roff said. "By the time conference play begins, we want to be very strong and our schedule will certainly prepare us for that. We have some very tough road games and we know that in order to be a great team, we have to be able to win tough games on the road. We are looking forward to that challenge."
ISU continues its conference schedule at Creighton (Sept. 29), before hosting Loyola Chicago in its final non-conference game (Oct. 3). The Redbirds host conference opponents Northern Iowa (Oct. 10), Indiana State (Oct. 14) and Missouri State (Oct. 21), before wrapping up the regular season at Drake (Oct. 25).
"Our schedule is designed with the main purpose of preparing us to be successful in conference play," Roff said. "I think the level in the Valley 2012, top to bottom, will be as high as I have seen it, and with only six conference games, every game means so much."
Last season, Illinois State captured both the Valley regular-season and State Farm MVC Soccer Championship titles, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, before bowing out to nationally-ranked Milwaukee in the opening round.
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