BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Samford Athletics)— Games at Auburn and defending national champion Florida State, home games with LSU and UAB, and the always-tough Southern Conference schedule highlight the Samford soccer team’s 2019 schedule, released by head coach Todd Yelton Monday.
“The standard here is that we play one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country,” Yelton said. “Recruits come here because they want to be a part of that. If you look at the history of our program, we have done that and we’re doing that this year, with the likes of Florida State, Auburn and LSU.
Yelton said he feels playing a tough non-conference schedule is good preparation for Southern Conference play.
“We have the defending SEC champion coming here and we’re playing at the defending national champ,” Yelton said. “It’s a really tough road, but I think once we get into the league we’re well prepared, we’ve certainly been tested. I don’t think you really know who you are until you’ve been tested. That has paid dividends for us over the last five years and we certainly hope it will do so in the future.”
Yelton said his team will need to be prepared for SoCon play, as the league has done nothing but improve over the last several years.
“I don’t think there is anything easy about our conference,” Yelton said. “If you look at the quality from the top to the bottom, the teams that traditionally had been poor have definitely raised the standard, so every game for us is incredibly difficult. The coaches in this league are quality coaches, and this is not their first rodeo.”
The Bulldogs will open the season with a pair of exhibition games at Ole Miss (Aug. 12) and Troy (Aug. 16). The team’s regular-season opener will be at home Aug. 22 against cross-town rival UAB at 7 p.m.
Following the UAB game, Samford will host home games with Murray State (Aug. 25), Western Kentucky (Aug. 30), LSU (Sept. 1) and MTSU (Sept. 5). The Bulldogs will then travel to Tallahassee, Fla., to take on national power Florida State Sept. 8.
After hosting Alabama State Sept. 13, Samford will play at SEC foe Auburn Sept. 15. The Bulldogs will then travel to Chicago to take on DePaul in the team’s final non-conference game Sept. 19.
Samford will open its quest for a sixth-straight SoCon regular season title with home matches against Furman (Sept. 27) and Wofford (Sept. 29). The Bulldogs will then play matches at ETSU (Oct. 4), Western Carolina (Oct. 6), The Citadel (Oct. 11) and Mercer (Oct. 13).
Samford will wrap up its regular season with three-straight home games. In the stretch, the Bulldogs will host games with UNCG (Oct. 18), VMI (Oct. 20) and Chattanooga (Oct. 27).
The Southern Conference Tournament will open with matches at campus sites Oct. 30 and Nov. 2. The semifinals and finals will be held Nov. 8 and 10 in Greensboro, N.C.