May 19, 2014
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Eleven home games and matches against six teams who appeared in last year's NCAA Tournament highlight a challenging schedule for the 2014 Alabama soccer team, seventh-year head coach Todd Bramble announced Monday.
In all, the 19-game schedule features eight non-conference matches, including a home game against Virginia on Sept. 6. The Cavaliers were the No. 1-ranked team for most of the 2013 campaign and appeared in the College Cup a year ago.
"We are particularly excited to host Virginia, who should be a preseason favorite to win the national championship this year," Bramble said. "They are a great team with a lot of talent, including the reigning Hermann Trophy winner (Morgan Brian), so it is exciting to bring them to Tuscaloosa."
The Tide will also play an 11-match Southeastern Conference slate. The SEC boasted six teams in last year's NCAA Tournament.
"This will be a challenging schedule for our team to navigate in a variety of ways," Bramble said. "By the time we get through the non-conference portion, we should be well prepared for the rigors of SEC play."
The Tide's 11 home contests ties for the second-most home matches in a season in program history. Most recently, UA played 11 games at the Alabama Soccer Complex in 2011. Alabama twice played 12 games at home in 2007 and 1996.
"We are fortunate we ended up with a favorable home schedule and we need to take full advantage of the opportunity that comes along with that," Bramble said. "We plan to put a team on the field that will be exciting to watch and we will have some formidable opponents that will create compelling matches."
Alabama will open the season with an exhibition game against SEC foe Mississippi State on Aug. 16. The Bulldogs are one of two SEC teams who Alabama will not face during the 2014 league slate (UA will not play Texas A&M as well). Following that contest, the Tide will open the regular season with back-to-back home games against Kennesaw State (Aug. 22) and Memphis (Aug. 24).
The Tide then goes on the road for its only two away games in the non-conference portion of the schedule, traveling to the state of Tennessee where it will take on Austin Peay on Aug. 29 and Middle Tennessee on Aug. 31.
Alabama begins the month of September with five-straight home games - the longest homestand since hosting a school-record seven straight matches in 2007 - taking on the Virginia Cavaliers on Sept. 5, followed by hosting in-state foe Jacksonville State on Sept. 7.
Following a home game against UAB on Sept. 12, the Tide opens SEC play against defending regular-season champion Florida on Sept. 19. Alabama then closes the home stretch with its final non-conference match against Alabama State on Sept. 21.
In addition to hosting the Gators, the Tide will play host to SEC opponents South Carolina (Oct. 3), Ole Miss (Oct. 5), Arkansas (Oct. 17) and Georgia (Oct. 24).
UA plays SEC road games at Tennessee (Sept. 26), Vanderbilt (Sept. 28), LSU (Oct. 9), Missouri (Oct. 19), Auburn (Oct. 26) and Kentucky (Oct. 30).
The games at LSU and at Auburn will be televised to a national audience on the SEC Network.
The 2014 SEC Tournament, set for Nov. 3-9, makes its eighth-consecutive appearance in Orange Beach, Ala. Every game in the tournament will be televised nationally on the SEC Network, with the championship game airing on ESPNU.
Get all the latest information on the team by following AlabamaSoccer on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found @UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and Alabama Athletics on Facebook.