Stafford Era Begins Friday Versus the 'Canes

Aug 22, 2013

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Friday, August 23 | 7 p.m. ET   
Miami, Fla.| Cobb Stadium
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Sunday, August 25 | 1 p.m. ET   
Lincoln, Neb. | Nebraska Soccer Field
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Cincinnati Bearcats
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Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes
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Nebraska Cornhuskers
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FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

1. Head coach Neil Stafford will appear in his first official game as a Bearcat Friday night against the Hurricanes. Stafford, who is the fifth head coach in program history, comes to Cincinnati after serving as the head coach at Central Michigan, where he was at the helm for two seasons and posted a record of 30-10-4. Last season, the Chippewas earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, which was the first ever for the Mid-American Conference (MAC).  Stafford also coached eight years at Assumption College where he became the school's all-time winningest coach with a record of 72-61-15.

2. UC returns 15 players from last year's roster, including 10-of-11 starters. Highlighting those returners are Laura Rose and Kristina Utley. Rose, who is a sophomore forward, led the 2012 team in points (11) and goals (five) despite missing the team's final six games, due to a leg injury. Utley, who is a junior goalkeeper, has started every game of her college career and is one of the most experienced goalkeepers in the American Athletic Conference.

3. The Bearcats have added a plethora of talent to this year's roster in seven freshmen and three transfers. Danielle Rotheram, who came to UC after playing her freshman season at Central Michigan under Coach Stafford, brings arguably the most experience as she was named to the MAC All-Freshman Team. The two other transfers are also sophomores and come from Southeastern Conference (SEC) schools with Haleigh Hoff previously attending Kentucky and Mackenzie Reynolds coming from Tennessee.

4. Cincinnati has never faced Miami (Fla.) in its 33-year history, and they have only competed against Nebraska once, which ended in a 2-1 loss to the Huskers last season at Gettler Stadium. If the Bearcats would defeat the 'Canes, it would give them back-to-back seasons with victories over an ACC opponent (North Carolina State, 3-1). A win over Nebraska would be UC's first win over a Big Ten school since 2011 (Northwestern, 2-1).

5. UC is 22-10-1 all-time in season openers and 5-4-1 the last 10 seasons. Stafford is the program's fifth head coach in the Bearcats' 33-year history, and all four coaches prior to him posted a victory in their first game at the helm. If Cincinnati pulls off the weekend sweep, he would join Janet Lines (1980) and Meridy Glenn (1983) as the only two coaches to begin their tenure at UC with two wins.