MT Soccer announces 2013 schedule

Raiders host Tennessee for first time since 1996

June 3, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee soccer released its 2013 schedule on Monday, as announced by head coach Aston Rhoden. The Blue Raiders welcome 12 opponents to the Dean A. Hayes Track & Soccer Stadium.

MT is looking to capitalize on a successful 2012 season that saw the Raiders boast a 14-5-1 record and a share of the Sun Belt Conference regular season title. This season will mark Middle Tennessee's first as a member of Conference USA. The 2013 schedule includes five teams that made the NCAA Tournament a year ago.

"Our program has a tradition of playing strong schedules each year and the 2013 schedule is certainly one of the most challenging schedules this program has faced to date," noted Rhoden. "This season, we will face several teams that finished in the top 25 in 2012 and others who were NCAA tournament teams."

In mid-August, the Blue Raiders host a pair of exhibition matches. OVC foe Belmont plays the Raiders on Friday, Aug. 16, while NAIA member Martin Methodist takes on MT on Sunday, Aug. 18.

The regular season opens Sunday, Aug. 25 when Middle Tennessee visits defending OVC Champion UT Martin at 2 p.m. The 2013 home opener is set for the following week when Lipscomb (Friday, Aug. 30) and Memphis (Sunday, Sept. 1) travel to Murfreesboro.

Middle Tennessee partakes in its first regular season tournament since 2010 when the Blue Raiders participate in the USF Soccer Classic on Sept. 6-8. The host Bulls play MT on Friday at 6 p.m. CT, while 2012 NCAA Tournament participant UCF and MT square off in a neutral site contest at 11 a.m. CT Sunday morning.

For the second time in school history, Middle Tennessee welcomes the Tennessee Lady Vols soccer program to Murfreesboro on Friday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. The only other home match against UT came on Oct. 16, 1996. To cap the weekend, Tennessee Tech visits Hayes Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 15.

Continuing the five match homestand, the Blue Raiders welcome Alabama A&M on Friday, Sept. 20. Conference USA competition begins the next weekend with UAB (Friday, Sept. 27) and Colorado College (Sunday, Sept. 29) making a trek to MT.

The Raiders open the next four of five on the road with a swing to Florida Atlantic (Friday, Oct. 4) and Charlotte (Sunday, Oct. 6). Sandwiched in-between is a home match versus Louisiana Tech on Sunday, Oct. 13. MT then continues the road swing with visits to Old Dominion (Friday, Oct. 18) and Marshall (Sunday, Oct. 20).

To close out the home portion of the schedule, North Texas and FIU will visit Hayes Stadium on Oct. 25 and 27. The Raiders visit East Carolina to wrap up the regular season on Thursday, Oct. 31.

"I'm confident our non-conference schedule will prepare us for a very tough Conference USA schedule and the latter will help propel us into the NCAA tournament, which is our ultimate goal," Rhoden said. "Despite our youth, I know our team will be ready for such a schedule, and we look forward to the support of our fans as we embark on our inaugural season in C-USA."

The Conference USA Championship, which will take 12 of the league's 16 teams, is set for Nov. 6-10 at Rice University in Houston, Texas. 

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