COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M soccer team has once again assembled one of the most grueling schedules in the program’s 15-year history and arguably one of the toughest schedules in the nation for 2007, A&M head coach G Guerrieri announced.
This fall the Aggies will face nine teams who advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year. Of those nine teams, five advanced to the Round of 16 with two moving on to the Elite Eight and North Carolina eventually capturing the 2006 Women’s College Cup crown.
"We all have very high goals for A&M soccer in 2007 season,” Guerrieri noted. “We return a number of experienced and motivated team leaders and are looking forward to the incredible challenges of the new year. I also know that we will be taking on one of the most daunting slate of matches in America, but feel like the experiences gained can help us reach our goals."
A&M opens the home portion of its season on Aug. 31 at 6:00 p.m. when it hosts Dartmouth at the Aggie Soccer Stadium. The Aggies will close out the opening weekend of play against the College of Charleston on Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
The following weekend, the Aggies travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. to take part in the Carolina Nike Classic where they will be pitted against defending national champion North Carolina and Duke. A&M split its series against UNC last year, defeating the Tar Heels, 1-0, in front of a record-setting crowd of 8,204 in double overtime in College Station before dropping a tough 3-2 decision in the NCAA Quarterfinals in Chapel Hill. Duke made its 13th NCAA appearance in 2006, falling to Tennessee in second round action.
The Aggies continue their East Coast tour Sept. 14 and 16 when they take on West Virginia, who finished first in the American Division of the BIG EAST Conference and perennial power Penn State. The Nittany Lions made their 12th NCAA Tournament appearance, eighth in the fourth-round, falling to eventual runner-up Notre Dame.
Texas A&M returns home Sept. 21 and 23 for a pair of games against two teams from Conference USA, Tulsa and Rice. The final non-conference match includes NCAA Tournament participant Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Oct. 26).
"This schedule features many of the other finest programs in the nation,” Guerrieri said. “It offers different tests and opportunities to teach and develop our team against some of the best teams from top conferences across America, including the ACC, SEC, Big East, Southern Conference, the Big 10, Conference USA, as well as the Horizon and Ivy League."
The Aggies were eliminated from both the 2003 and 2005 NCAA tournaments at Penn State in the Round of 16. The 2006 squad fell just short of an appearance in the College Cup after advancing to the Elite Eight for the third-time, falling to North Carolina, who went on to win their 17th national title.
A&M opens the home half of Big 12 play against Kansas on Sept. 30 at 1:30 p.m. Other home conference home matches include NCAA participants Texas (Oct. 12) and Colorado (Oct. 14). The Aggies will also face Texas Tech (Oct. 28) and Baylor (Nov. 2) at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.
A&M will look to defend its third consecutive Big 12 regular season title when it opens Big 12 play on the road at Missouri (Sept. 28). A&M will also travel to Oklahoma State (Oct. 4), Oklahoma (Oct. 7), Iowa State (Oct. 19) and Nebraska (Oct. 21). A&M’s match-up against OSU will be televised nationally on the Fox Soccer Channel beginning at 7 p.m.
"It is always difficult to prepare for the highly competitive nature of our Big 12 schedule,” Guerrieri said. “But I am confident that this extremely tough pre-conference campaign will have us battle-tested and ready to defend our back-to-back-to-back Big 12 championships."
Texas A&M has won a total of nine Big 12 Soccer Championships (five regular season and four tournaments) in the past 10 years. The Aggies have also been consistently ranked among the best teams in America, having appeared in the National Top 10 rankings in each of the past 12 seasons.
Prior to the season opener against Dartmouth, the Aggies will host the Maroon & White Game on Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Aggie Soccer Stadium. Following that match, A&M will play a tough opponent in NCAA Round of 16 participant Florida. The match is slated for Aug. 25 at 6 p.m.
Fans can call the Texas A&M Athletic Ticket Office at 1-888-99-AGGIE for reserved, season and single game ticket information.