JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With 11 of its 18 matches hosted inside the friendly confines of Southern Oak Stadium, head coach Brian Copham made it nearly impossible to miss a Jacksonville University women's soccer game during the 2017 season.
Southeastern kicks off the home slate Sunday, Aug. 13, in an exhibition matchup, and will be the first of six consecutive opponents to visit the First Coast.
"We are excited about our 2017 schedule, as we have a great variety of teams and challenges to prepare us for conference play," said Copham. "While we play what seems to be all of South Carolina, we play four different conference representatives, all of which contend in their respective leagues. USC [South Carolina] is coming off an Elite Eight run, so that weekend will be a difficult road trip against a very good Coastal [Carolina] team followed up by USC.
"We look forward to our difficult pre-conference schedule as we prepare for the always challenging conference slate."
The 2017 season officially begins at Southern Oak Friday, Aug. 18, with a night tilt against Charleston Southern. In its last five seasons, Jacksonville has posted a record of 3-2 in its home openers, most recently, a 3-0 shutout at the start of the 2016 campaign.
Action against CSU, will be closely followed by Elon (Aug. 20), UNC Asheville (Aug. 27), Long Island – Brooklyn (Sept. 1), and Florida International (Sept. 3).
In their first road trip of the year, a stop in South Carolina will see the Dolphins take on Coastal Carolina (Sept. 8) and the nationally-ranked Gamecocks (Sept. 10) who are coming off of an unbeaten regular season mark of 17-0-1 and a trip to the Elite Eight.
Jacksonville will return home the following Friday to close out its non-conference schedule with hosting duties against Citadel (Sept. 15) before visiting the College of Charleston two days later.
The Dolphins' first three ASUN Conference matches are at home, as the team opens league play in a River City Rumble against North Florida Saturday, Sept. 23. The New Jersey Institute of Technology and USC Upstate round out the second week of conference action.
Jacksonville will also play host to the reigning ASUN champions Florida Gulf Coast (Oct. 14) in its regular season home finale.
The three-day ASUN Tournament begins Saturday, Oct. 28, with campus sites hosting the first round. The Final Four will be played on the campus of the No. 1 seed.
Copham welcomes 19 returners to his 2017 roster, including all-conference selections Joëlle d'Entremont and Meagan Gruber, which he states "should bring a great blend of experience and youth for our squad."
d'Entremont enters her second season of captainship after guiding JU's offense with a team-high 12 points on four goals and four assists while Gruber, an incoming sophomore, anchored the Dolphins backline.
The Dolphins added six newcomers in the fall, and each are expected to make an immediate impact.