MIAMI (June 7, 2012) - Head Coach Thomas Chestnutt announced the 2012 FIU women's soccer schedule on Thursday. The upcoming slate is comprised of 19 teams from six conferences, including three 2011 NCAA Tournament participants: Florida, Florida Gulf Coast and LSU.
"Our non-conference schedule has traditionally been pretty strong and this year we continue that with three teams on our schedule that made the 2011 NCAA Tournament," Chestnutt said. "If you look at the previous track record of these teams, most of them traditionally have winning records. We will be tested on the road early; getting the experience on the road in the beginning of the season will be good for us. The level of tough competition we will see in the non-conference portion of the schedule will definitely prepare us for conference play."
FIU opens the 2012 season with three-straight home games versus Stetson (Aug. 17), Jacksonville (Aug. 19) and Morehead State (Aug. 26). The season-opening weekend against Stetson and Jacksonville will make up this year's Parents' Weekend. The Panthers will face Stetson for the 18th time in school history, as FIU is 12-4-1 all-time against the Hatters. The Dolphins went 11-5-3 in 2011, as JU earned a share of the Atlantic Sun regular-season title.
"We wanted to start the year off with three-straight home games and have Parents' Weekend kick off our season," Chestnutt said. "We thought it would be a good thing, getting the parents out there to support them during that time. I think it should be a very good weekend to get the season started and to get everybody headed in the right direction."
Following the home meeting with Morehead State, FIU will hit the road to take on three-straight teams which made the 2011 NCAA Tournament. On Friday, Aug. 31, FIU will travel to Ft. Myers, Fla., to take on Florida Gulf Coast. The Eagles finished last season with a 14-5-2 record and are the defending A-Sun Champions. FGCU advanced to the NCAA Tournament, falling to Florida, 3-0. FIU will take on the Gators on Sunday, Sept. 2, in Gainesville, Fla. An NCAA Tournament team in 2011, Florida finished the year with a 17-8 record. FIU takes on LSU on Friday, Sept. 7, in Baton Rouge, La., marking the first-ever meeting between the two squads. The Tigers are coming off a 13-8-1 season, earning their fourth NCAA Tournament berth in the last five seasons.
FIU will return home to face Idaho on Sunday, Sept. 9, before hitting the road for four-straight contests. The Panthers and Vandals will square off for the first time ever. FIU will next take part in the Cats Classic (Sept. 14-16) in Tucson, Ariz. The Panthers will face a pair of Pac 12 opponents, beginning with Arizona on Friday, Sept. 14. Arizona State will round out the Classic, as FIU will take on the Sun Devils on Sunday, Sept. 16. Both matches will be first-time meetings for the Panthers.
The Panthers remain on the road to open up Sun Belt Conference play as FIU strives to defend its 2011 SBC Tournament crown. FIU will square off against South Alabama on Friday, Sept. 21, before heading to Troy, Ala., to take on the Trojans on Sunday, Sept. 23. The Panthers defeated both the Jaguars and Trojans last season en route to a 9-1-2 mark in conference action.
FIU closes out the month of September, returning home to host Middle Tennessee (Sept. 28) and WKU (Sept. 30). The Blue Raiders handed the Panthers their only conference loss of the season last year (2-0 in Murfreesboro, Tenn.), while WKU and FIU battled to a pair of 0-0 draws in 2011, including the Sun Belt Conference Tournament finals in which the Panthers won on PKs, 4-3.
The Panthers will travel to Denton, Texas, on Sunday, Oct. 7, to take on the Mean Green of North Texas. FIU will then host Alumnae Weekend as Louisiana and ULM come to Miami. The Panthers will face the Ragin' Cajuns on Friday, Oct. 12, before going up against the Warhawks on Sunday, Oct. 14. FIU picked up its second conference draw last season with a 1-1 tie versus Louisiana, while the Panthers improved to 5-0-1 all-time with a 3-0 victory over ULM in 2011.
"Alumnae Weekend [comes at a] fortunate [time] this year because we have two home games that combine homecoming weekend with football," Chestnutt said. "Our alumnae can come watch us play two home games and then go watch a football game. It should be a great weekend for our alumnae to come back and see our team and see a lot of the great things happening here at FIU."
FIU heads to Jonesboro, Ark., to take on Arkansas State on Thursday, Oct. 18. The Panthers earned a pair wins over the Red Wolves last season, including a 2-0 victory in the first round of the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
The Panthers will honor their senior class and host the UALR Trojans in the final home game of the 2012 season on Sunday, Oct. 21. This will mark the 14th meeting all-time between the two sides with FIU holding a 9-4-0 advantage in the series history. FIU will close out the regular season with a trip to Boca Raton, Fla., on Thursday, Nov. 25, to take on the Florida Atlantic Owls. The Panthers enter this year's contest having won three-straight over the Owls.
"The girls are looking to come back and defend last year's SBC Tournament Championship and challenge for this year's regular season title," Chestnutt said. "We want to end our stay in the Sun Belt Conference on a good note. Everyone is really excited."
The SBC Tournament is slated for Oct. 31 through Nov. 3 and will be hosted by South Alabama in Mobile, Ala. NCAA Championship action will begin Nov. 10-16, culminating with the NCAA College Cup, held Nov. 30 & Dec. 2 at Torero Stadium in San Diego, Calif.
2012 FIU Women's Soccer Schedule
at Florida Gulf Coast
Ft. Myers, Fla.
Baton Rouge, La.
vs. Arizona State
at South Alabama*
at North Texas*
at Arkansas State*
at Florida Atlantic*
Boca Raton, Fla.
Sun Belt Conference