PISCATAWAY, N.J. (July 8, 2013) – Rutgers men’s soccer, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2013, has released its fall schedule featuring 11 home dates at Yurcak Field, competition against eight teams that reached the 2012 NCAA Tournament and three squads ranked in the top ten of the final polls.
“This year marks the 75th season for Rutgers men’s soccer and we wanted to make this season something for the fans to get excited about,” said Rutgers men’s soccer head coach Dan Donigan, who begins his fourth year at the helm of the Scarlet Knight program. “We have many great home matches against some of the best teams in the country. Last season we had one of the toughest schedules in the country and this coming fall will be no different.”
“We have eight NCAA tournament teams on our schedule along with many perennial powers,” continued Donigan. “This season will challenge our program and certainly give us the opportunity to play the very best in the nation. Our goal is to get into post season play and be well prepared for the NCAA tournament. We need to take this season one game at a time and stay as healthy as possible.”
The Scarlet Knights, who return 13 letterwinners and eight starters from a year ago, will open the season with a pair of exhibition contests. Rutgers travels to in-state rival Monmouth on Aug. 20 and hosts Virginia on Aug. 24. The Cavaliers reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season.
The regular season kicks off with Rutgers heading to the Duke Soccer Classic in Durham, N.C. to face the host Blue Devils on Aug. 30 followed by back-to-back Southern Conference champions in Elon on Sept. 1.
Future Big Ten opponent Penn State will serve as the Scarlet Knights’ home opener on Sept. 6, the first of five consecutive games at Yurcak Field. The homestand continues with Akron, a team ranked seventh in the final polls, on Sept. 8. The Zips went 18-1-3 last year and advanced to the third round of the College Cup, falling in penalty kicks to eventual final four participant Creighton.
Rutgers will also host in-state rival Princeton on Sept. 13 and South Carolina on Sept. 15 before kicking off American Athletic Conference (AAC) action against SMU on Sept. 20. The Mustangs won the regular season Conference USA title in 2012 and received an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament.
More NCAA Tournament competition continues when RU travels to regular season Colonial Athletic Association champion Drexel on Sept. 24 followed by the Scarlet Knights’ first AAC road game at Memphis on Sept. 28 in the first ever meeting between the two schools.
RU will return home to host Hofstra on Oct. 2 and resume AAC action on Oct. 5 hosting Cincinnati.
The Scarlet Knights will then gear up for a pair of powerhouses on the road in conference competition. Rutgers travels to NCAA quarterfinalists and top ten rivals in Connecticut on Oct. 9 and Louisville on Oct. 12. The Huskies just missed out on making the final four of the College Cup with a 1-0 loss to Creighton and finished sixth the polls. The Cardinals, who fell 2-1 to RU last season, lost to Maryland in the NCAA quarterfinals and closed out the year ranked ninth in the final polls.
Rutgers closes out the month of October with three straight home games. Non-conference action concludes on Oct. 15 with Bucknell followed by South Florida, who reached the second round of post-season action a year ago, on Oct. 19 and Temple in the home regular season finale on Oct. 23.
The Scarlet Knights close out the regular season meeting up with Central Florida for the first time in history on Nov. 2.
AAC post-season play begins on Nov. 9 and will conclude with the championship on Nov. 17 at FC Dallas in Frisco, Tex.
“This type of schedule is what we try to play each season because this is what quality players want to do,” added Donigan. “We have a very motivated and competitive group and we feel we will be a challenge to each team we face. We hope that the community will jump on board to watch some of the best programs in the country compete and watch some quality soccer matches at one of the finest stadiums in the country.”