Winthrop head men’s soccer coach Daniel Ridenhour announced a 20-game slate for the 2016 season that includes three exhibition matches and 17 regular-season contests.
“The 2016 schedule will test our team in every way,” said Ridenhour, who is in his first season as head coach of the Eagles. “Overall, we will see six teams that played in the 2015 NCAA tournament which is always a positive. It will be a challenging start to our regular season with seven road games but that should help prepare us for the rigors of the Big South schedule. As the defending Big South champions our group needs to be ready to have the approach that we are only looking at the game in front of us and not looking beyond as each and every team in the conference will be pushing for the title.”
The six opponents that played in the 2015 College Cup are North Carolina, South Carolina, North Florida, Charlotte, Radford and Elon. Three of those meetings will take place on Eagle Field. Charlotte, Elon and South Carolina were all eliminated in the second round while North Carolina’s season ended in the third round. Those six programs totaled 75 victories in 2015 and with two finishing the season ranked in the NSCAA Top 25 and three others receiving votes. Only six of the Winthrop’s 19 Division I opponents on the schedule finished with a losing record and eight of them finished with 10 or more wins.
It all begins on Friday, Aug. 12 when the Eagles host North Carolina in an exhibition game. It’s the first of three exhibition contests for the Eagles as they will have another tough preseason matchup on the road against South Carolina on Aug. 18. The final exhibition match will be on Eagle Field against Queens on Aug. 21.
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Winthrop will open the regular season with seven straight games away from home beginning in Jacksonville, Fla. for the Mike Gibbs Memorial tournament. The Eagles will play at North Florida on Aug. 26 and at Jacksonville on Aug. 28. The following weekend Winthrop will travel to Spartanburg for the Big South/SoCON Challenge as it takes on Mercer on Sept. 2 and the host Wofford College on Sept. 4. For the second time in three years the Eagles will take part in the UNCW Courtyard Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach Classic in Wilmington, N.C. Winthrop will face Marist on Sept. 9 and then UNCW on Sept. 11. The final game of that stretch will be at Appalachian State on Sept. 20 before the Eagles open their home and Big South Conference schedule on Sept. 24 against Liberty.
The Eagles are coming off an 11-7-2 mark in 2015 as they captured the Big South Conference Championship and advanced to the College Cup for the sixth time in the program’s history.
2016 Men’s schedule
Aug. 12 & North Carolina, Rock Hill, 7
Aug. 18 & at South Carolina, Columbia, 7
Aug. 21 & Queens, Rock Hill, 7
Aug. 26 % at North Florida, Jacksonville, Fla., 7
Aug. 28 % at Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Fla, 5
Sept. 2 $ Mercer, Spartanburg, 5
Sept. 4 $ at Wofford College, Spartanburg, 3:30
Sept. 9 ^ Marist College, Wilmington, N.C., 5
Sept. 11 ^ at UNC Wilmington, Wilmington, N.C., 2
Sept. 20 at App. State, Boone, N.C., 7
Sept. 24 * Liberty, Rock Hill, 7
Sept. 27 Charlotte, Rock Hill, 7
Oct. 1 * at Presbyterian College, Clinton, 7
Oct. 4 * at Campbell, Buies Creek, N.C., 7
Oct. 8 * High Point, Rock Hill, 7
Oct. 15 * at Radford, Radford, Va., 7
Oct. 22 * at UNC Asheville, Asheville, N.C., 6:30
Oct. 26 * Gardner-Webb, Rock Hill, 6
Oct. 29 * Longwood, Rock Hill, 6
Nov. 1 vs. Elon, Rock Hill, 7
Nov. 6-13 Big South Championship TBA, TBA
%Mike Gibbs Memorial Tournament (Jacksonville, Fla.)
$Big South/SoCON Challenge (Spartanburg)
^UNCW Courtyard Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach Classic (Wilmington, N.C.)
*Big South Conference Match