ST. LOUIS - Saint Louis men's soccer coach Mike McGinty today announced the Billikens' 2012 schedule. Among the highlights of the 17-game regular-season slate are matches at Robert R. Hermann Stadium against rival Indiana Friday, Aug. 24, and NCAA quarterfinalist Louisville Tuesday, Sept. 4.
The game against the Hoosiers is part of a season-opening tournament at Hermann Stadium Aug. 24 and 26. Two of the most storied programs in college soccer with 17 national titles between them, the SLU-Indiana matchup is one of the most anticipated of the season. The Billikens conclude the tournament Sunday, Aug. 26, against Drake. Cincinnati is also competing in the tournament.
"This is a good tournament for us and a great way to start the season," McGinty said. "Any time you play Indiana you have a chance at a big crowd, and being it is the home opener, it adds a little to it."
Matchups against UMKC (Saturday, Sept. 1) and Louisville (Tuesday, Sept. 4) complete a four-match homestand to start the season. Last year, Louisville advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals after playing in the NCAA title game in 2010.
The Bills' first road game is Saturday, Sept. 8, at Denver. They return to Hermann Stadium for a tilt against Evansville Saturday, Sept. 15. SLU heads to Omaha to face Creighton, which advanced to the College Cup semifinals last year, Saturday, Sept. 22. The Billikens conclude the non-conference season Saturday, Sept. 29, against Central Arkansas on Homecoming at Hermann Stadium.
"When putting together the non-conference schedule, we look for strong matchups against historically successful programs," McGinty said. "That is what we did this year. This is what our fans want to see and who our players want to play. Our schedule sets up nicely in the fact that next year the home and away matchups will flip, which allows us to consistently have a top-notch schedule."
SLU opens Atlantic 10 Conference play Friday, Oct. 5, and Sunday, Oct. 7, with road matches at Xavier and Dayton, respectively. New A-10 member VCU comes to town Friday, Oct. 12, while Richmond visits Sunday, Oct. 14. Following a trip to Philadelphia to face Saint Joseph's (Oct. 19) and Temple (Oct. 21), the Billikens conclude the regular-season schedule with three games at Hermann Stadium.
Charlotte, which played in the NCAA title game last year, is the Billikens' opponent Friday, Oct. 26. George Washington visits Sunday, Oct. 28. The Billikens face another new A-10 member, Butler, on Saturday, Nov. 3, in the regular-season finale. The top eight teams in the A-10 regular season advance to the A-10 Championship in Charlotte, scheduled for Nov. 7-11.
"Charlotte's success last year is exciting for the entire league, and we are happy to play them again this year," McGinty said. "Adding VCU and Butler makes the league stronger. Between Charlotte and UMass, we've had two teams in the College Cup finals in the last few years. Not a lot of conferences can say that."