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Big South schools Radford, Liberty announce 2012 men’s soccer schedules

Big South Conference men’s soccer teams Radford and Liberty have announced their respective men’s soccer schedules for the 2012 season.

Along with hosting the Radford University Tournament, the Highlanders 2012 men’s soccer schedule will feature 18 regular season contests, including a record 10 conference matches, third-year coach Marc Reeves recently announced.

“We have put together another very challenging schedule,” said Reeves, who a year ago led Radford to just its second winning season in the last decade. “We play several teams who participated in last year’s NCAA tournament and other programs who are consistently high in the Men’s College Soccer RPI.”

Following a pair of exhibition contests against familiar opponents (Wake Forest – Aug. 14; James Madison – Aug. 18), the Highlanders will kick-off 2012 at UMBC on Aug. 25.

For the third consecutive season, Radford will take part in the Flash Gordon Motors Invitational (Aug. 31 & Sept. 2) hosted by High Point University before traveling to East Tennessee State for a Sept. 8 tilt.

On Sept. 14 & 16, the Highlanders host Marshall, UNC Asheville and Marist for the Radford University Tournament at Cupp Stadium. Radford will open its home slate against Marist before concluding the inaugural event with Marshall.

“Opening night at Cupp Stadium we will again be giving away Soccer Scarves to our #9 Supporters. We need excellent support, as Marist College is a very talented and well-coached team. This game is part of our tournament here at Cupp Stadium. We are grateful to the three excellent teams attending and hope fans come out for all the games. Sunday vs. Marshall will be our Camp Reunion and Youth Soccer Day”

Since Reeves took over in 2010, Radford is 8-1-2 at home, while ranking among the nations best in average attendance.

“We led the league in attendance last year and truly appreciate all our fan support from the students (#9 Radford Ultras) and the community. They have helped us perform well at home the past two years and we hope we can build on the atmosphere and excitement this season,” Reeves said.

After concluding their first of two three-game homestands on Sept. 22 against Campbell, the Highlanders will play seven of its next eight away from home, including an Oct. 23 meeting at New River rival Virginia Tech, which Radford has defeated two of the last three seasons.

In back-to-back matches, the Highlanders will entertain the reigning Big South regular season champ (Coastal Carolina – Oct. 27) and tournament champion (Liberty – Oct. 30) before hosting Winthrop for Nov. 3 Senior Day match with Winthrop at 6 p.m.

“The Big South, I believe, will be incredibly tough again. We go to a 10-game slate where every match will be highly competitive. Our goal is to improve on our league position last season and secure a home quarterfinal game in the new tournament format.”

This year’s Big South tournament will feature a new format with the quarterfinals being played at campus sites and the semifinals/finals taking place in Greensboro, N.C. Nov. 9 & 11.

Liberty Unveils Men’s Soccer Schedule

A challenging nine-game home slate highlights the upcoming 2012 Men’s Soccer schedule for the defending Big South Champion Liberty Flames.

“We feel our 2012 schedule will stretch our young group right out of the gate,” said 12th-year coach Jeff Alder. “Our hope is that playing three ACC teams in August will prepare our guys for conference play and the Big South Championship in November.”

“After losing six seniors to graduation and five players to the professional ranks, we must get contributions from some new players immediately. Our returning players will need to provide leadership and direction for our young guys during preseason and the early part of this schedule.”

Liberty will get its 2012 season underway with exhibitions against Virginia Tech and Virginia.  The Flames are scheduled to meet the Hokies at Osborne Stadium on Aug. 14, while facing Virginia in Charlottesville Aug. 18.

Six days later, Liberty will open the 2012 regular season and the 37th year of Liberty men’s soccer by welcoming N.C. State to Osborne Stadium. The Aug. 24 contest is slated to start at 7 p.m. After their home opener, the Flames will take to the road for four matches, starting with a Big South match at conference newcomer Longwood in Farmville Sept. 1.

The following weekend, Liberty will play two neutral site games at the Sculley Memorial Tournament at VMI in Lexington, Va. The Flames will face Marshall Sept. 7 and George Washington Sept. 9 at the tournament. Liberty concludes the road swing with a contest at Howard Sept. 12.

The Flames will return to Osborne Stadium on Sept. 19 for a Big South match against Coastal Carolina. The contest will start a string of five consecutive home games. Nonconference matches with Richmond (Sept. 25) and Wofford (Sept. 29) complete the September slate for the Flames, while a Big South contest against Campbell (Oct. 5) and nonconference tilt with American (Oct. 9) begin the month of October.

Liberty will then have three road contests, all Big South Conference matches. The Flames will face Presbyterian (Oct. 12), VMI (Oct. 16) and Winthrop (Oct. 20) during the stretch.

Three of Liberty’s last four contests of the regular season will be at Osborne Stadium. Alder’s squad will host High Point (Oct. 23) and Gardner-Webb (Oct. 27) in Big South matches, before traveling to Radford Oct. 30.  The Flames conclude the regular season Nov. 2 with a home match against UNC Asheville.

Liberty will then begin defense of its Big South title. Under a new format, the Conference’s top eight teams will square off at the home field of the top four teams Nov. 6. The winners will then advance to the semifinals Nov. 9, with the Big South Championship final Nov. 11. The semifinals and finals will played at Bryan Park in Greensboro, N.C. The conference champion receives an automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament.

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