ATLANTA, Ga. - The 2019 ASUN Conference Women's Soccer regular season kicks off Aug. 22nd with all nine teams taking to the pitch. Exhibition contests are currently in full swing and started last week. Next Thursday marks the 27th season of ASUN Conference Women's Soccer.
Highlighting the overall schedule for the conference are contests with seven teams from the 2018 NCAA Tournament -- Abilene Christian, Auburn, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
FGCU enters its 13th season under veteran head coach and four-time ASUN Coach of the Year, Jim Blankenship. Blakenship has led FGCU to 12-straight double-digit win seasons. The Eagles kick off their season at home with a match against FIU on August 22nd followed by a home match with NCAA Tournament participant Auburn (Aug. 25). Five other home non-conference matches highlight the schedule along with road games at Michigan and in-state rival Florida.
Jacksonville enters its second season under head coach Laura Kane looking to build on the foundation laid by her leadership in 2018. Kane put together a challenging 2019 slate which includes a home match against South Carolina who advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round last season. Road matches at FIU and Miami are also showcased on the schedule. The Dolphins open the season at home vs. Charleston Southern.
Benji Walton enters his fourth season as head coach at Kennesaw State, leading the program to its highest win total since 2007 a year ago with a 12-6-1 mark. Following a pair of road matches at Mercer and Georgia State to open the season, the Owls return to Fifth Third Bank Stadium for five straight contests. Road games at Big 12 Conference members Oklahoma State (Sept. 19) and Kansas (Sept. 22), who advanced to the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 a year ago, take place right before league play begins.
Liberty enters its second season in the ASUN Conference under head coach Lang Wedemeyer. In 2018, the team finished fifth in the standings with a 5-3-0 record in conference play. Wedemeyer continues to challenge his team throughout its non-conference schedule, facing three teams from the ACC (Pitt, Virginia and Virginia Tech), which is a first in school history. Virginia advanced to the Sweet 16 one year ago. The Flames will host the Pitt Panthers on Sept. 15th.
Under Head Coach Kevin O'Brien, Lipscomb made its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and defeated Mississippi State in the first round by a 1-0 (2OT) score. The Bisons face teams from eight different conferences in non-conference play highlighted by a home contest with cross-town rival Belmont on Aug. 25th. Cincinnati (Sept. 12) and Xavier (Sept. 22) also visit the Music City this season.
NJIT, led by fourth-year head coach Ally Nick, looks to follow up its record-setting 11-win campaign from 2018 with a fourth consecutive season of increased wins and a third straight with a winning record. Highlighting the Highlanders schedule is a trip to B1G Conference foe Maryland on Aug. 25th.
North Alabama enters its second season in Division I and the ASUN Conference under seventh-year head coach Chris Walker. Last season, he led the team to an 11-9-1 record and to the title match of the ASUN Championship. This season, the Lions face a pair of 2018 NCAA Tournament participants in Ole Miss (Aug. 22) and Abilene Christian (Sept. 13) both on the road.
North Florida enters 2019 under the leadership of Eric Faulconer who was promoted to head coach in November of 2018. The Ospreys will be challenged right out of the gate with six straight matches away from home, highlighted by contests at FIU and FAU before returning to Jacksonville to face Air Force and Illinois State.
Stetson prepares for a new era under head coach Chris Bergmann who takes the lead after spending the past four seasons as head coach at VMI. A pair of home matches to kick-off the season vs. Grand Canyon and Rollins occur prior to traveling to Miami and UCF in mid-September for the Hatters.
Conference play in the ASUN begins Sept. 26th with a pair of matches in Lipscomb hosting Kennesaw State and Liberty traveling to Jacksonville. FGCU, NJIT, North Alabama and Stetson begin conference action on Sept. 27th, while North Florida opens conference play Sept. 29th hosting Liberty.
2019 ASUN Women's Soccer Schedule & Season Highlights
- ASUN teams have seven regular-season matches against non-conference teams that made it to the NCAA Tournament in 2018: FGCU vs. Auburn; Jacksonville vs. South Carolina; Kennesaw State at Kansas; Liberty at Virginia Tech; Liberty at Virginia; North Alabama at Ole Miss; North Alabama at Abilene Christian.
- Three individual postseason award winners return for the 2019 season led by Player of the Year, Olivia Doak of Lipscomb. Lipscomb's Logan McFadden (Defensive Player of the Year) and NJIT's Fiona Wright (Freshman of the Year) are also welcomed back.
- A total of eight First Team All-Conference selections from a year ago return, while 11 Second Team All-Conference honorees are back.
- Meanwhile, five All-Academic Team members return to the pitch this season.
- The 2019 campaign marks the 27th in ASUN Conference history.