ODU Men's Soccer Releases 2008 Schedule
By ODU Athletics
May 30, 2008
NORFOLK, Va. - After graduating just three starters from a team that reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament in consecutive years, the Old Dominion men's soccer team will again face a tough schedule as they look to repeat as CAA Champions for the first time since head coach Alan Dawson took the helm. This season, ODU will welcome in 2007 Final Four participant and #4 in the nation Massachusetts during the STIHL Soccer Classic and they will also play 2005 Final Four participant and constant NCAA Tournament presence Southern Methodist in the Virginia Soccer Classic at UVa to open the 2008 season.
The Old Dominion men's soccer team will be challenged from the start as they are on the road for the first four games of 2008 with three of them coming against teams who are constant threats in the national tournament. First, at the Virginia Soccer Classic, ODU will match up against #18 SMU, who has reached the NCAA Tournament 14 straight years. The Mustangs were National Semifinalists in 2005 and have averaged 15 wins a season over the last three. ODU will also take on St. John's on campus in Charlottesville. The Red Storm are the 2003 National Runner-ups and despite being eliminated in the BIG EAST Tournament a year ago, will be primed to return to the national stage in 2008 as they return everyone on the roster.
ODU stays on the road for the first weekend of September, as they head to the UNCG Kickoff Classic in Greensboro, North Carolina. They'll face Elon and UNC Greensboro on the road before heading home to open the year with the annual STIHL Soccer Classic. Greensboro is a perennial power, as they reached the College Cup Round of 16 in three of the last four years.
In 2008, ODU's home opener will come as they host UMass, a 2007 Final Four participant, and the University of Central Florida. Massachusetts was the surprise of the tournament last year as they toppled the #1 seed, Boston College, en route to their first ever Final Four appearance where they were edged by #5 Ohio State by a final of 1-0 in the National Semifinal. The team returns nine of eleven starters and were ranked 4th in the nation at the end of 2007. The back-end of the STIHL Soccer Classic will be against UCF. The Knights struggled in Conference USA action a year ago,
The final non-conference game of the season will be against Bryant University as part of a doubleheader with the women's team on September 19. The game will immediately follow the women's game, who hosts the Akron Zips at 6:00 p.m.
The 2008 Colonial slate for ODU will be tough as they play six games on the road this year, including trips to two of the three top seeds in the 2007 conference tournament. The road begins in Delaware on September 26 and the following week the Monarchs travel to Wilmington. William & Mary is the first home conference game and Towson, the runner-ups from the 2007 tournament will come in the same weekend. ODU travels to Georgia State and back up to Hofstra the following weekend and then returns home to face the Dukes of JMU and Huskies of Northeastern. Then, at the end of October, the team will travel to VCU and Drexel before returning home for the final regular season of the season against George Mason.
The CAA Tournament will begin on Tuesday, November 11th at a location to be announced. The format has changed this year as the quarterfinals will be held at the higher seed, and the semis and championship game will be held at the number one seed. The Monarchs will look to defend their crown as they are coming off their first CAA Championship.
The 2008 team will return eight starters, including All-Conference goalkeeper Evan Newton. The Monarchs are one of just nine teams to reach the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament in each of the last six years and one of just six teams to reach the Round of 16 in consecutive years the last two. The Monarchs finished 2007 ranked 19th in the country after defeating Providence at home in the first round, Brown on the road in the second round, and falling at Virginia Tech in the Round of 16. ODU will return 14 letterwinners, all with experience in at least one NCAA Tournament. Head coach Alan Dawson has guided his team to an average of over 13 wins a season over the last six years.