April 28, 2014
The University of Cincinnati women’s soccer team, under the tutelage of second-year head coach Neil Stafford, has released its schedule for the 2014 season. The Bearcats’ schedule includes three matchups with clubs that earned 2013 NCAA Tournament bids and nine games versus the always challenging American Athletic Conference.
“I think our 2014 schedule has good balance from start to finish.” Stafford said. “We will see various styles of play throughout the year, so I am excited to see how we handle what each opponent throws at us, especially with being such a young team.”
UC opens up the 2014 campaign on Aug. 15 as it welcomes Valparaiso to Gettler Stadium for a 6 p.m. ET kickoff.
Stafford and company will then have a three-game road swing in the south starting with a matchup against Samford on Aug. 22. The next two matches will come against Southeastern Conference opponents in Mississippi State (Aug. 24) and Vanderbilt (Aug. 29).
Following their game in Nashville, Tenn., the Bearcats will return home for their own three-game home stand highlighted by St. Francis on Sept. 7, who was a 2013 NCAA Tournament team.
The annual crosstown rivalry against Xavier returns to Gettler Stadium this year and is slated for Sept. 14 at 1 p.m. A week later, UC will host a familiar foe in Syracuse, who is now a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“I think our non-conference schedule is tough and will prepare us for the conference season,” said Stafford. “Playing ACC and SEC teams early in the year is always a good measuring stick to tell you where the program is. The American will be difficult again with half of the teams ranking 77 or lower in the RPI. You then throw in a few programs that are rebuilding like us, and I think you have a very competitive conference that will catch some national attention.”
The Bearcats open up AAC play on Sept. 25 as it hosts Temple and then turn around to face UConn on Sept. 28.
Cincinnati hops back on the road for three games and their first conference road matches of the season. The three-game road trip includes AAC newcomers East Carolina and Tulsa along with current member Memphis.
UC’s final home weekend will be Oct. 16 and 19 as they play SMU and Houston.
The Bearcats closeout the regular season with a trip to Florida to face USF and defending conference champion UCF.
The first round of the AAC Tournament is slated to begin on Oct. 31 with the championship game scheduled for Nov. 9.
In Stafford’s first season at the helm, the Bearcats finished the year with an 8-11-1 overall record and 4-4-1 in league play. This season marked only the fourth time in the last 10 seasons that UC accumulated eight or more wins and only the second time in 10 years that it had four or more conference wins. Cincinnati, who was picked to finish ninth in the AAC, surprised the league by finishing sixth and was tied for third entering its final conference match.