PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The Rutgers men's soccer team has released its 2017 schedule as the Scarlet Knights prepare for matchups against five NCAA Tournament teams, including a pair of ACC powerhouses, five programs listed in the top 25 of the final NSCAA poll, two in-state rivals and eight regular season games played at home at Yurcak Field.
"Scheduling is always tough and usually poses major challenges, especially when you start to hit the conference part of the season," said head coach Dan Donigan. "The difficult battles each game will bring to this group means there are no, absolutely zero, games that are easier than the one you just played or the next game you have staring you in the face. The Big Ten schedule is strong enough that any games we play outside the conference are significant and just as important to our season when you are trying to get into postseason play. This season is no different with regard to having a lot of out of conference matches that will be very exciting and difficult."
Prior to the start of the 2017 men's soccer regular season, Rutgers will compete in two exhibition mathches. The Scarlet Knights will host UConn (Aug. 13) and travel to Monmouth (Aug.16) for their final preseason tune-up.
Rutgers will begin the regular season with four road contests starting with the first two matchups of the year against two of the country's best. The Scarlet Knights will travel to 2016 NCAA Tournament runner-up Wake Forest (Aug. 25) and NCAA semifinalist North Carolina (Aug. 27) before completing the road trip in the Midwest with Oral Roberts (Sept. 1) and UMKC (Sept. 3).
RU's 2017 home opener will mark the start of Big Ten Conference play with another 2016 postseason opponent in Michigan State (Sept. 8). The Scarlet Knights then travel to College Park to face the three-time Big Ten champion Maryland (Sept. 12).
The Scarlet Knights will split the next four games with two home and two on the road beginning with matchups at Yurcak Field against Ohio State (Sept. 17) and Canisius (Sept. 19). Rutgers then travels to Indiana (Sept. 22), meeting a team that played its way to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, and close out the month of September with a contest at in-state rival Princeton (Sept. 26).
October will open up at home resuming Big Ten competition in hosting Wisconsin (Oct. 1) before heading on the road to compete with Michigan (Oct 6). RU will return home to face another in-state rival in NJIT (Oct. 11) before traveling to Northwestern (Oct.15).
The Scarlet Knights will finish the regular season with a three-game homestand kicking off with a matchup against Lafayette (Oct. 18), followed by the Big Ten regular season finale with Penn State (Oct. 22) and then capping off the regular season against Columbia (Oct. 25).
The Big Ten Tournament will take place on the weekends of Nov. 5-14.
"So again we have a very challenging slate of matches for our players, coaches, fans and students to come out to and get excited about," added Donigan. "I have always believed that our players and supporters want to see us against the very best. This also prepares us for the challenges post season presents if we can do well enough to get there. We must prove within our body of work along the way that we deserve to be back into the NCAA tournament. That has to be proven every time we step onto the field no matter who we are playing."
"We need to stay healthy, come to compete at an incredibly high level and do whatever it takes to get a result in every game," continued Donigan. "The work began in our off season and continues as we prepare for the preseason."
Season ticket and promotional information will be available later this summer.
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