LOUDONVILLE, NY – Siena Men’s Soccer Head Coach Cesar Markovic has released the Saints’ 2018 schedule. Siena is slated to play nine of its 18 regular season contests at home, highlighted by a season-long four-match homestand to open September.
“We have an interesting schedule this year which begins in Texas, but also provides our fans with an opportunity to see our young and exciting team early on at home,” said Markovic, who enters his sixth season as head coach. “We’re looking forward to competing on our brand new turf field surface, and hope to re-establish the home field advantage that we displayed a couple of seasons back.”
The 45th season of Siena Soccer kicks off with the program’s first-ever trip to Texas for the HBU Invitational. The Saints will match the program’s earliest-ever season opener (2012) when they commence play at event host Houston Baptist on Friday, Aug. 24 at 8:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. local time). Siena wraps up the event two days later vs. a second WAC foe in UT Rio Grande Valley (Aug. 26).
This marks just the third time in program history that Siena will travel west of the Mississippi (2014, 2017), all of which have been coordinated during Markovic’s tenure. The Saints are also opening their schedule west of the Mississippi for the second straight season, with the program’s first-ever matches vs. opponents from the Lone Star State.
“My motivation for taking my team on these trips is both competitive and educational,” explained Markovic. “I want to play tough competition and be pulled out of our comfort zone. This can only help us towards our goals. I also want my players to see as much of our beautiful country as possible and learn about all its people, regional differences, and similarities. Young people are curious about life in general. I think it's a great time in their lives to continue to open horizons and explore. This, to me, is all part of an education.”
Siena concludes both its season opening three-match road trip and the month of August at Holy Cross (Aug. 31). The Saints are also set to travel to defending America East Regular Season Champion Vermont (Sept. 18) to close out its non-conference schedule.
Siena opens the month of September with a season-long four-match homestand, marking the program’s longest in 11 years since playing six straight in Loudonville in 2007. The Saints’ home opener is set for Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 3 p.m. vs. Lafayette. Siena is also slated to host Stony Brook (Sept. 8), Army West Point (Sept. 11) and Sacred Heart (Sept. 15) during the homestand.
MAAC play commences on Sept. 26 at Niagara, and the Saints will also travel to Manhattan (Oct. 3), Quinnipiac (Oct. 10), Iona (Oct. 20), and Rider (Oct. 27) as part of the conference road docket this fall.
Siena’s league home opener features Monmouth coming to Siena Turf Field on Sept. 29. This year, the Saints will also host I-87 rival Marist (Oct. 6), defending MAAC Regular Season and Tournament Champion Fairfield (Oct. 17), Canisius (Oct. 24), and Saint Peter’s (Oct. 31) for its MAAC home schedule.
The 2018 MAAC Men’s Soccer Championships will once again feature a six-team format this fall. 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 Nov. 4. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will then host semifinal matches on Nov. 8, with the highest remaining seed playing host to the MAAC Championship Match on Sunday, Nov. 11.
Siena will look to improve upon last season’s 4-7-7 overall record which included a 2-4-4 mark in the MAAC. Headlining the Saints’ returnees is leading scorer and 2017-18 Siena College Male Rookie of the Year Alejandro Riquelme, while the program is also set to welcome seven newcomers which includes five true freshmen.