Seven home matches, one new foe highlight 2011 Tech soccer schedule

Seven home matches, one new foe highlight 2011 Tech soccer schedule

Click here to view the 2011 soccer schedule

Opening weekend brings Chattanooga, Belmont to town

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – For his second season at the helm, Tennessee Tech soccer coach Daniel Brizard has put together a 20-match schedule for his 2011 Golden Eagle squad which includes seven home contests and one new opponent.

Brizard announced the schedule this week. He said the schedule will be competitive while allowing his youthful squad a chance to develop.

“This is a challenging, well-balanced schedule for what we are trying to accomplish,” Brizard said. “None of these opponents stands out as a ‘powerhouse’ but there are no easy teams on the schedule, either. There are a lot of ‘winnable’ matches, but every time we play it will be very competitive.”

Brizard likes the caliber of the non-conference opponents.

“The non-conference teams are similar to our conference teams, so those matches should really help us prepare for the OVC schedule,” he said. “We’ll prepare for those matches and play just as if they are in our conference.”

The most difficult portion of the schedule comes early, when Tech plays seven road matches in a row.

“We play seven consecutive road matches and we go 27 straight days with a home match,” Brizard said. “It’s not unusual to have two weeks in a row on the road, but by the time we get to our third week on the road we’ll really need to stay focused even more.”

The 2011 Golden Eagles will feature 15 returnees from spring plus the addition of eight signees. The addition of all those new players really increases the importance of the team’s early exhibition match at Alabama A&M on Aug. 11.

 “We’ll play a lot of intersquad, but it will be nice to take our team and compete against someone else,” Brizard said. “It will give us a different kind of competition, and give us a chance to work out our kinks.”

After that “tune-up” in Huntsville, the Golden Eagles get the regular season underway with a pair of home contests against familiar foes. Tech hosts UT Chattanooga on Friday, Aug. 19, for the season opener, before Belmont visits on Sunday, Aug. 21.

“The UTC match will be a very good opening test for us. Chattanooga is a like-minded program, and we have the benefit of playing them at home. We’re familiar with their players, and we know they work very hard. We will need to be prepared.

“Belmont will give us an early indication of the future of the OVC,” Brizard said of the Bruins who will join the league in 2012-13. “They have a new coach, and we played them in the spring. It should be the end of a really competitive weekend.”

The long road stretch starts with matches at East Tennessee (Aug. 26) and UNC Asheville (Aug. 28), then continues in Jacksonville, Ala., where Tech plays two matches including a brand new opponent. Tech meets Louisiana Tech on Friday, Sept. 2, then faces New Mexico State for the first time on Sunday, Sept. 4.

The road swing continues with a journey to the Commonwealth of Virginia to face Longwood (Sept. 9) and Radford (Sept. 11). The final match in the seven-match road stretch is closer to home when the Golden Eagles play at Middle Tennessee State on Friday, Sept. 16.

Tech’s final non-conference contest brings Lipscomb to Cookeville on Sunday, Sept. 18.

The following weekend, Tech begins its nine-match OVC schedule with a tough road trip to Eastern Illinois (Sept. 23) and league newcomer SIU Edwardsville (Sept. 25). Tech also faces OVC road tests at Jacksonville State (Oct. 7), UT Martin (Oct. 28) and Southeast Missouri (Oct. 30).

The home portion of the OVC schedule has the Golden Eagles hosting Eastern Kentucky (Sept. 30), Morehead State (Oct. 2), Murray State (Oct. 14) and Austin Peay (Oct. 16).

The first place team during the regular season will host the six-team OVC Tournament, Nov. 3-6, with the winner advancing to the NCAA Tournament, starting Nov. 11.

Admission to all of Tennessee Tech’s regular season home matches is free.