Contests against three NCAA tournament teams and the continuation of several local rivalries highlights the 2016 Marquette men's soccer schedule, which was announced on Wednesday afternoon by head coach Louis Bennett.
Here's what Coach Bennett had to say about this year's slate of games:
"I'm really happy with the schedule we have put together. It's well-balanced with opponents that will allow us to build a strong RPI, while helping prepare us to contend in the BIG EAST. We play some of the top teams in the region and in the country outside of the conference. This gives us consistency and quality of our opponents. Obviously, it's challenging and will be a demanding schedule that makes for season-long preparation for every game. I believe this is a schedule indicative of an ambitious team, which is what we have tried to accomplish."
Marquette's regular season opener is also their home opener and it will provide them with their lone non-conference game against a 2015 NCAA tournament team. They'll be hosting - and trust me when I tell you this is 100% true - Kentucky, last year's Conference USA regular season champion. Yes. The Wildcats. In Conference USA. This is what happens when only two SEC schools play Division 1 soccer, and yes, South Carolina is in CUSA, too.
The remainder of the non-conference schedule is an assortment of regional rivalries for the Golden Eagles. There's Northern Illinois, Northwestern, and Wisconsin at home, not to mention the annual Milwaukee Cup game against UW-Milwaukee. Marquette will be looking to maintain possession of The Cup for a third consecutive year when they host the Panthers at Valley Fields on Wednesday, September 14th. The Golden Eagles have road non-conference fixtures against Illinois-Chicago and Saint Louis. It's the first time Marquette will play the Flames since 2012, but that's not nearly as long as the delay between games against the Billikens. Marquette hasn't scheduled SLU since leaving Conference USA to join the Big East after the 2004 season.
MU will open Big East play with two consecutive home games, first against St. John's on September 17th, followed by Villanova one week later. Much like the women's team, the Golden Eagles catch the luck of the draw this year and will play five home games in league play against four road games. Luckily, the games between league favorites and 2015 NCAA tournament teams Georgetown (home) and Creighton (road) are split, although they are on back-to-back Saturdays in October.
The regular season will wrap up with a home game against DePaul for Senior Night on Friday, November 4th. Marquette will be looking to make it back to the Big East tournament after missing out on the six team event last year, and if they qualify, all games will be contested at the higher seed's home facility.
Here's the full schedule:
|Fri., Aug. 26||Kentucky||7pm|
|Mon., Aug. 29||Northern Illinois||7pm|
|Fri., Sept. 2||at Illinois-Chicago||7pm|
|Mon., Sept. 5||Northwestern||7pm|
|Sat., Sept. 10||at Saint Louis||7pm|
|Wed., Sept. 14||UW-Milwaukee||7pm|
|Sat., Sept. 17||St. John's||7pm|
|Sat., Sept. 24||Villanova||7pm|
|Sat., Oct. 1||at Seton Hall||6pm|
|Wed., Oct. 5||Wisconsin||7pm|
|Sat., Oct. 8||Georgetown||7pm|
|Sat., Oct. 15||at Creighton||7pm|
|Sat., Oct. 22||Xavier||7pm|
|Wed., Oct. 26||at Providence||6pm|
|Sat., Oct. 29||at Butler||7pm|
|Fri., Nov. 4||DePaul||7pm|