Luck Releases 2013 Men’s Soccer Slate


MEN'S SOCCER BLOG
By Grant Dovey for WVUsports.com
April 23, 2013 11:13 AM

The complete 2013 men’s soccer schedule can be found HERE.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck has released the 2013 men’s soccer schedule, which is highlighted by 13 home matches at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

"It will be an exciting season for the men's soccer program as Marlon (LeBlanc) has once again put together a very competitive schedule,” Luck said. “With 13 home matches and road matches against the 2012 National Championship teams, I am looking forward to watching this team excel."

The schedule consists of games against the 2012 National Champions (Indiana) and 2012 National Championship runner-up (Georgetown), as well as taking on eight teams that have combined for 33 Final Four appearances, five teams that have combined for 11 national finalists and four teams that have combined for 11 national championships.

“Arguably, it’s the toughest schedule I’ve ever had here. We are matched up with some marquee names and marquee teams of college soccer,” LeBlanc said. “Top to bottom, this schedule is good enough to be in the Top 10 or 15 nationally. There are some great games and we will be ready to play them.”

WVU opens the season with the West Virginia/Penn State Invitational in which the Mountaineers take on Central Connecticut State (Aug. 30) and Radford (Sept. 2) at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

“We’ll head out to Real Salt Lake’s facility in Arizona for preseason training for a few days before taking on Ohio State and Villanova in some great exhibition matches,” LeBlanc said. “Then we’ll have a really difficult opening weekend starting with Central Connecticut, a strong team with a large international base. We then play Radford and head coach Marc Reeves, who was a former St. John’s assistant. They were a very good team last year and will be competing for a Big South title this year.”

The following weekend, WVU will have a busy travel weekend playing at Georgetown on Sept. 6 before flying to Indiana for a match on Sept. 8. The two squads played in the 2012 National Championship with Indiana winning 1-0.

“We’ve always said that to be the best, you have to play and beat the best. Georgetown will be one of the best teams in the country next year with some of the highest scoring forwards in the country,” LeBlanc said. “Indiana is one of the greatest environments in college soccer with the history; eight national championships, countless Final Four’s and Big Ten Championships.”

On Sept. 13, WVU returns home to face Wright State, before traveling to take on former Big East foe St. John’s on Sept. 15.

“St. John’s has won numerous Big East Championships and is a team that is always in the mix for the NCAA tournament,” LeBlanc said. “That environment is also a challenging as well. It’s one of those games where it’s a Sunday night, in St. John’s, it will challenge our guys, and it will test our guys, and hopefully will bring the best out of our guys.”

A five-game home stand will then begin against Big 10 opponents Michigan and Penn State on Sept. 21 and Sept. 25, respectively.

“(Michigan coach) Chaka Daley, who I know well, is a fantastic coach,” LeBlanc said.
“That Michigan program is one that has been to a Final Four, they were in the NCAA tournament last year and they’re a team that will be challenging for a Big Ten Championship this year.

“Next is Penn State, which is a club I know very well. We’ve had some pretty good success since I’ve been here against Penn State. Every year is a new year and they’re going to be a fantastic club this year, trying to defend that Big Ten regular season championship. That game will bring a close to a pretty daunting stretch.”

The Mid-American Conference season commences in Morgantown against 2012 conference champion Akron on Sept. 29, followed by a home match against Northern Illinois on Oct. 5. The home stand ends against Stony Brook on Oct. 8.

“We then get to play arguably the best program over the past three or four years with Akron,” LeBlanc said. “We play them on a Sunday night to make sure we have a big crowd and a big environment for that game. They’re clearly going to be the favorite going into that game. They were No. 1 in RPI going into the last weekend of the season a year ago.”

The Mountaineers travel to Hartwick on Oct. 11, before returning to Morgantown to face High Point (Oct. 15) and Georgia State (Oct. 19).

WVU will complete the non-conference schedule with a road match at American on Oct. 22, before taking on Western Michigan (Oct. 26) at home, traveling to Buffalo (Nov. 1) and hosting Bowling Green (Nov. 8) to complete the regular season.

“Hartwick is one of those teams that won a national title, so there’s tradition there. High Point is one of the top up-and-coming programs, winning 12 games a year ago,” LeBlanc said. “I liken it to the VCU’s, Wichita State’s and Butler’s in college basketball. It’s the same in college soccer.

“Two years ago, Georgia State was an NCAA team. American is perennially one of those top teams in the Patriot League. Western Michigan won 12 games a year ago. Buffalo has a new coach, who is a former Western Michigan coach. Bowling Green was a battle last year in the last weekend of the regular season. These teams aren’t necessarily name brands, but they are good programs. Every conference game will be a battle. That last stretch of the season is a difficult one.”

MAC Tournament action is held from Nov. 15-17 at the site of the highest seed.
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