Winthrop men's soccer coach Rich Posipanko announced his 2008 schedule, consisting of 18 regular-season matches and two exhibition games.
The schedule is loaded with strong opponents from the South Atlantic and South Regions. The Eagles finished 11-4-3 in 2007 and look to repeat that success.
"Our 2008 schedule will be a challenge both in conference and out," said Posipanko, who hopes to guide his team back to the top of the Big South Conference. "We are coming off a very good spring season and return eight starters, so our expectations are high for the fall.
"I expect this season in the Big South Conference will be the most balanced it has ever been from top to bottom. We are certainly excited about the challenge ahead and getting the season started."
The schedule features 10 non-conference games and eight league games.
The two exhibition games are at South Carolina and hosting Clemson. The Clemson exhibition will be a fundraising event as the Eagles team up with the Isabel Jurado Foundation. The game is open to the public, but donations are welcome.
They begin the season on Aug. 29, traveling to Boiling Springs, N.C., for the JAKO Classic hosted by Gardner-Webb. Winthrop will face Belmont and Lipscomb on Aug. 29 and Aug. 31. The following weekend, the Eagles take on UNC Greensboro and Elon in the UNCG/adidas Kickoff Classic. UNCG and Elon finished 2007 ranked in the South Region.
Winthrop plays its home opener on Sept. 12 against USC Upstate in the second game of the Wingate Inn Classic. The Eagles also face Appalachian State. The final tournament of the regular season will be in Charlotte as the Eagles will take on Charlotte and Davidson in the Nike Invitational on Sept. 19-21.
Brevard and College of Charleston, which finished ranked in the South Region in 2007, round out the non-conference slate.
On Sept. 26, Winthrop faces defending Big South champions Liberty at home in the team's league opener. The Eagles also get High Point (Oct. 8), VMI (Oct. 12), and Gardner-Webb (Oct. 30) at home. Gardner-Webb is in its first season with the Big South after transferring from the Atlantic Sun.
Winthrop travels to Presbyterian (Sept. 30), Radford (Oct. 18), UNC Asheville (Oct. 25) and Coastal Carolina (Nov. 5), which finished ranked in the South Atlantic Region last year. Presbyterian's league games will count in the standings, but the team is not allowed to participate in postseason play.