2012 Women's Soccer Schedule Announced; Mocs Will Play Nine Games vs. NCAA Tournament Teams
Florida Southern’s 2012 women’s soccer schedule has been released, and the Moccasins will begin a new season under a new coach at Columbus State on Friday, August 31. It’s the first of five straight road games to start the season, and the first of nine games against teams that qualified for last year’s NCAA Tournament. Overall, Florida Southern will play six games at home, eight on the road, and two at neutral sites.
The August 31 match against the Cougars is part of the Columbus State Invitational, featuring Florida Southern, Tampa and Anderson (SC) in the weekend event. It will also mark the head coaching debut of Brittany Jones, who was named the Moccasins’ new coach in February after serving five years as assistant coach at Stetson University.
Jones and the Moccasins will face an immediate test against Columbus State, a team that went 16-4-3 last year, earned its sixth straight trip to the NCAA postseason, and advanced to the Southeast Region semifinals. The Cougars also return 15 players from that team, including two All-Americans. It won’t be the first time Florida Southern has clashed with a highly ranked Columbus State team on the road, however. In 2010, the Mocs traveled to Columbus and played the 2nd-ranked Cougars to a scoreless tie, ending their 7-game winning streak.
Florida Southern’s second game of the Columbus State Invitational will be Sunday, September 2, against Anderson, the only team on this year’s schedule the Mocs have never faced. The Trojans were 9-10-1 overall last year, but tied for third place in the South Atlantic Conference and allowed just 21 goals in 20 games. They’re scheduled to return nine starters.
The second week of the season should prove equally challenging, as the Moccasins will travel to Pensacola to take on North Georgia from the Peach Belt Conference on Friday, September 7, and Gulf South Conference foe West Florida on Sunday, September 9. North Georgia finished as the PBC regular season runner-up last year and earned its first ever bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Saints finished with a 16-3-1 record, with two of those losses coming to Columbus State, and the other coming to Peach Belt champion Armstrong Atlantic. They'll bring eight starters back, including all four starting defenders from a team that posted a 0.83 goals against average.
Two days after playing North Georgia, the Moccasins will face West Florida, which went 12-3-3 last year. Despite the record, it was the first time the Argonauts missed the NCAA playoffs since 2004, when their season was shortened to only three games due to Hurricane Ivan. The Argonauts defeated the Moccasins last year 3-0.
Florida Southern’s 12 remaining regular season games will all be against Sunshine State Conference schools, though only one game against each team will count toward the conference standings. In a new scheduling format adopted this year, each school will play four additional non-conference games against SSC schools in addition to the normal 8-game conference schedule featuring one game against every team in the league. Under the new format, Florida Southern will face Nova Southeastern, Rollins, Lynn, and Eckerd twice this year.
After a non-conference game at Nova Southeastern on September 12, Florida Southern will play its 2012 home opener on Wednesday, September 19 against Rollins, which will also be a non-conference match. The Tars were one of five SSC schools to qualify for the NCAA Tournament last year, a list that includes Florida Tech, Lynn, Saint Leo and Tampa. All of those teams won at least 11 games, and Nova wasn’t far behind with nine wins.
Tampa, which visits Lakeland on Saturday, October 20, won the South Region title last year with a 1-0, double-overtime victory over Lynn, before the Spartans fell to Armstrong Atlantic in the NCAA quarterfinals. That ended Tampa’s season with a 16-6-2 record, and makes UT one of four teams the Mocs will face this year that won at least 15 games in 2011.
In addition to Columbus State, North Alabama, and Tampa, Saint Leo was also a 15-game winner with an overall record of 15-3-1. The Lions won the SSC regular season title, but were upset in the SSC Tournament semifinals by Tampa, and in the regional semifinals by Lynn. They were the #1 seed in both of those tournaments. Saint Leo will visit Florida Southern this year on Wednesday, October 3.
Florida Southern’s first conference game is scheduled for Tuesday, September 25 against Nova Southeastern. The Mocs will then host Saint Leo (Oct. 3), Eckerd (Oct. 13) and Tampa (Oct. 20) in their remaining SSC home games.
The Mocs end the regular season on Saturday, October 27 with their SSC match against Rollins in Winter Park. The Tars have played in the last four NCAA Tournaments.
The Sunshine State Conference Tournament gets underway on Tuesday, October 30 at campus sites, with the semifinals and championship game scheduled for November 2 and 4. The top six teams in the regular season standings qualify for the SSC Tournament, with the top two seeds earning first-round byes. The regular season champion hosts the semifinals and final.
The NCAA Tournament begins on November 9, with the national semifinals and championship game scheduled for November 29 and December 1. The Peach Belt Conference will serve as host for this year’s championship in Evans, Georgia.