ST. LOUIS - Saint Louis University head women's soccer coach Kat Mertz has announced the Billikens' 2012 schedule, a 19-game slate that features three 2011 NCAA Championship qualifiers and seven home games.

The Billikens will face two of the three NCAA participants at home on the Robert R. Hermann Stadium pitch. Marquette (18-4, 10-1 Big East Conference in 2011), which advanced to the second round of the tournament and earned a top-five national ranking, is the opponent for SLU's Aug. 26 home opener at 5:30 p.m. Atlantic 10 Conference rival Dayton (19-4, 7-2 A-10), which reached the national tournament after capturing a third consecutive A-10 Championship crown, comes to St. Louis Oct. 7 for a 1 p.m. tilt.

Following a home exhibition game against Missouri State Aug. 11 (6 p.m.), Saint Louis begins the regular season with three straight road contests. The Bills play at Mississippi Aug. 17 before taking on Southeast Missouri State (12-6-1, 8-1 Ohio Valley Conference), the defending OVC regular-season champion, Aug. 19. SLU concludes the road swing Aug. 24 at Evansville.

The Marquette game is followed by an Aug. 31 clash with Denver (16-5, 9-2 Sun Belt Conference) at Hermann Stadium (7 p.m.). The Pioneers, who are embarking on their first campaign in the Western Athletic Conference, tied for second in their final season as a Sun Belt member.

Early September finds the Billikens squaring off against UMKC (Sept. 7) and Florida Gulf Coast (Sept. 9) in Kansas City in a tournament hosted by UMKC. The Kangaroos earned their first Summit League Championship bid a year ago, while the Eagles (14-5-2, 7-1-1 Atlantic Sun Conference) won the A-Sun tourney title and played in the NCAA Championship.

SLU's only September home game is a battle against Iowa (13-4-3) Sept. 12 (5 p.m.), although the Billikens follow with a Sept. 16 contest at nearby rival SIU Edwardsville. The Bills conclude non-conference play Sept. 20 at DePaul.

The nine-game A-10 schedule commences with a Sept. 29 road tilt against new league member Butler in Indianapolis. October begins with the Billikens welcoming Xavier to Hermann Stadium Oct. 5 (7 p.m.), followed by the showdown with Dayton two days later.

Two challenging games in Richmond, Va., await Saint Louis the following weekend. The Billikens begin the trip Oct. 12 against new conference member VCU, the Colonial Athletic Association's 2011 regular-season and tournament runner-up. Richmond (13-5-3, 7-1-1 A-10), the A-10 regular-season runner-up last year, is the opponent Oct. 14.

The Bills make their final Hermann Stadium appearances of the season Oct. 19 against Saint Joseph's (7 p.m.) and Oct. 21 against Temple (1 p.m.). SLU's regular season concludes on the road with games against Charlotte Oct. 26 and George Washington Oct. 28. Rhode Island will host the A-10 Championship, which is expanding from six to eight teams, Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 1-4.

Coach Mertz's comments on the 2012 schedule may be viewed by clicking the play button on the above photo.