Kennesaw State Soccer Announces 2013 Schedule

Slate highlighted by Carolina Nike Classic and Seven Home Matches at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium
 By Libby Knight

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KENNESAW, Ga. – Kennesaw State soccer and head coach Rob King announced a challenging state of competition for the 2013 season, including participating in the Carolina Nike Classic where the Owls will face off against reigning national champion North Carolina and national quarterfinalist Duke, as well as contests against six teams that made appearances in their postseason conference playoffs and seven home contests at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium.

“We have got some great opponents on the schedule this year,” King said. “Obviously we are playing against the defending national champions in North Carolina, which we also did back in 2004 after we had won the Division II national championship. We played against UNC, who had just won the Division I national championship and it was a great experience for our girls.

“It was also a chance for them to see what it’s like at the very, very highest level. We’ve got an outstanding group of 2013s coming in and what better way to start then by showing them the gold standard for women’s college soccer.”

After home exhibitions against Wofford (Aug. 9) and Clayton State (Aug. 17), Kennesaw State will officially kick off the 2013 season in Knoxville, Tenn., with a pair of matches in a tournament hosted by the University of Tennessee. The Owls open against Tennessee Tech on Friday, August 23, followed by a first-ever meeting with Big 12 opponent Oklahoma on Sunday, August 25.

The competition continues to build in the second week of the season when Kennesaw State travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., for the Carolina Nike Classic and will battle against two of the top programs in the nation.

KSU first matches up against 2012 national quarterfinalist Duke, who finished the 2012 season ranked at No. 8 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Continental Tire National Poll on Friday, August 30. The Owls will then get a chance of a lifetime on Sunday, September 1, when KSU goes toe-to-toe with tournament host and 2012 national champion UNC in the finale of the Classic.

The difficult nonconference schedule continues the following week as the Owls renew their rivalry with Georgia State with a Friday, Sept. 6 match in Atlanta.

Four weeks into the 2013 slate, KSU returns home for five-straight contests at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium, including one of the marque games on the schedule for the home opener as the Owls challenge Southeastern Conference (SEC) foe Mississippi on Friday, Sept. 13.

The Owls wrap-up nonconference action against Samford in a rare Tuesday night match on Sept. 17, followed by a first-ever meeting against Troy on Sunday, Sept. 22.

After falling short of its goal of winning the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship in 2012, KSU will look to return to the top of the league standings as it opens A-Sun play with a pair of home matches, facing off against Lipscomb on Friday, Sept. 27, and Northern Kentucky on Sunday, Sept. 29.

“There is a lot of parody in our conference, with not much between any of the teams,” said King. “I think it has shown that almost anybody can beat almost anybody else depending on when and where the game is. It’s exciting, but it also means that you have to have 100 percent focus on every single game, home and away.”

The Owls then hit the road for three-consecutive conference matches at USC Upstate (Oct. 4), East Tennessee State (Oct. 6) and arch rival Mercer on Friday, Oct. 11.

Kennesaw State returns home for its final two matches of the regular season at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium, battling Stetson on Friday, Oct. 18, before the Owls look to celebrate Senior Day for Kelsey Barr and Tasia Williams with a win over 2012 A-Sun champion Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday, Oct. 20.

The conference and regular seasons conclude with road contests in Jacksonville, Fla., against Jacksonville on Friday, Oct. 25, and North Florida on Sunday, Oct. 27.

The 2013 edition of the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship will begin on Saturday, Nov. 2, with the first round matches, followed by the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 8, and the championship match on Sunday, Nov. 10. The location of the tournament will be determined by the regular season champion.

The Owls are set to return 12 letterwinners, including eight starters, from a team that posted the ninth-winning season in program history and first since 2009 with a 10-8-1 overall record and a third-place finish in the A-Sun at 6-2-1, while also advancing to the 2012 A-Sun Championship. Among those returnees are A-Sun Scholar-Athlete of the Year and conference first-teamer Katrina Frost, as well as second-team honorees Barr and Jewelia Strickland and all-freshman team member Danielle Gray. KSU will also welcome in nine newcomers to the squad, including seven freshmen and a pair of SEC transfers.

“I think we laid the groundwork last year with our returning players and then brought in a lot of good players this year as well,” added King. “I think we have set the foundation and are ready to get started this year with a very challenging schedule.

“There is a lot of soccer being played and a lot of people are working very hard right now. Expectations are high for this year, but we know there are some great challenges there and if you need motivation, when you are playing the national champion in several weeks’ time, that’s it.”