LOUDONVILLE, NY – Siena Men’s Soccer Head Coach Cesar Markovic has released the Saints’ 2019 schedule. Siena is set to play 18 regular season matches this fall, highlighted by seven dates at Hickey Field.
The Saints should be well-tested for the start of their 2019 campaign, following a pair of challenging preseason exhibitions on the road. Siena travels to seven-time NCAA Tournament Champion and 2018 Round of 16 participant Virginia for an exhibition match on Saturday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. in Charlottesville, and heads to Patriot League foe Navy for its final preseason tune-up on Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 11 a.m. in Annapolis, Maryland.
“We have a fantastic trip to Virginia and Navy for preseason,” said Markovic, who enters his seventh season leading the Saints. “The intent is to test our players right away, and work to improve from those matches heading into the regular season.”
Siena’s 2019 schedule features a program record-tying 11 regular season road matches (1989, 2014, 2015), and commences with the first of two season long three-match road trips. The Saints kick off the program’s 46th varsity season at Patriot League opponent Lafayette on Friday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. in Easton, Pennsylvania, before traveling to Saint Francis (PA) on Sept. 1 and Army West Point (Sept. 6) to conclude the opening stretch.
Siena makes its 2019 Capital Region debut with the home opener vs. Northeast Conference foe Bryant on Sunday, Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. at Hickey Field. The Saints will also play host to regional power Vermont in non-conference action (Sept. 17).
In all, six of Siena’s eight non-conference matches will be contested on the road, as the Saints will also travel to defending America East Regular Season Champion Stony Brook (Sept. 13), Sacred Heart (Sept. 21), and Cornell (Sept. 24) to round out the non-league slate.
“Our non-conference games will challenge us, and serve as a great learning and preparatory period before MAAC play,” remarked Markovic.
Siena embarks upon the program’s 31st season of MAAC competition when the Saints open October at Canisius on Oct. 2 in Buffalo. Siena will also head to Monmouth (Oct. 9), Marist (Oct. 12), Fairfield (Oct. 26), and Saint Peter’s (Nov. 2) to comprise the conference’s road docket this fall.
The Saints host Iona for their MAAC home opener on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 1 p.m. in Loudonville. After opening the season with nine of their first 12 matches on the road, Siena will end regular season action by playing four of its final six matches within the friendly confines of Hickey Field. The Saints will host Niagara (Oct. 16), defending MAAC Tournament Champion Rider (Oct. 23), Quinnipiac (Oct. 30), and Manhattan (Nov. 6) to round out both conference home action and regular season play.
“We are excited about MAAC Soccer,” added Markovic. “Our league is incredibly competitive top to bottom, and our players are looking forward to every one of those challenges this year.”
The top-six finishers in the 11-team MAAC will advance to the conference championships in mid-November. The top-two seeds will earn byes to the semifinal round, with the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds hosting quarterfinal contests vs. the sixth and fifth-seeded teams, respectively, on Saturday, Nov. 10. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will then host semifinal matches on Thursday, Nov. 14, with the highest remaining seed playing host to the 2019 MAAC Men's Soccer Championship Match on Sunday, Nov. 17.
Siena will be looking to improve upon last season’s campaign in which the Saints posted a 5-10-3 overall mark and finished eighth in the MAAC with a 4-6 league ledger. Siena is set to return 87% of its scoring from last year’s squad, headlined by MAAC All-Rookie Team selections Aaron Martin and Birgir Thorsteinsson. The Saints will also welcome back eight starters, while a talented group of 12 players are set to don the Green and Gold for the first time this fall.