Matches against eight teams that qualified for the NCAA tournament last season highlight the Wisconsin mens soccer teams 2009 schedule, as announced Friday by first-year head coach Todd Yeagley.
The Badgers slate includes seven home games, as they will host the annual Middleton Sports and Fitness Invitational, along with playing host to in-state rival Marquette and a trio of Big Ten Conference foes.
We feel the out-of-conference matches will prepare us for what is going to again be a very difficult Big Ten schedule, Yeagley said. Several of the teams well face have made deep runs in the NCAA tournament in the past few years, and we think the level of competition will make for a challenging schedule.
The season opens with an exhibition game against UW-Parkside on Aug. 24 and a second exhibition contest with Akron, which advanced to the 2008 NCAA Sweet 16, in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Aug. 29.
UW then welcomes Virginia Tech, Western Illinois and UW-Milwaukee to the McClimon Complex for the Middleton Sports and Fitness Invitational the weekend of Sept. 4-6. The Badgers will take on Virginia Tech at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 and then face Western Illinois at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6.
Our goal each year is to bring in top teams from around the nation, Yeagley said. We feel with a recent College Cup participant in Virginia Tech and a talented Western Illinois team, along with an in-state team like UW-Milwaukee, we will have an outstanding event for both the teams competing and the fans that come out to watch.
The Badgers then had west to take on San Diego (Sept. 11) and San Diego State (Sept. 13) as part of the Aztecs tournament in San Diego, Calif.
The final weekend of the tournament season has the Badgers facing a pair of 2008 NCAA Tournament qualifiers in UC Santa Barbara (Sept. 18) and Oakland (Sept. 20) in the UW-Milwaukee Panther Classic in Milwaukee, Wis.
The Big Ten season begins with the Badgers taking on Indiana as part of a doubleheader with the UW womens team at the McClimon Complex on Friday, Sept. 25, the first of four-consecutive games against NCAA tournament qualifiers from last season. The Badgers then travel to face Illinois-Chicago on Sept. 30 and Michigan on Oct. 4, before returning home to host Michigan State on Oct. 11.
UW then faces UW-Green Bay on Oct. 14 and Northwestern on Oct. 17 in back-to-back road contests before settling in for a three-game homestand.
The Badgers will welcome Marquette (Oct. 21), Ohio State (Oct. 25) and Northern Illinois (Oct. 28) to Madison in the span of a week.
The regular season concludes with road trips to Penn State on Oct. 31 and UW-Milwaukee on Nov. 5.
The Big Ten tournament is slated for Nov. 12-15 in Bloomington, Ind.