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Tusculum releases 2011 season schedule

18-game slate opens Sept. 2 with Tusculum Kickoff Tournament

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tusculum College head women's soccer coach Mike Joy has announced his squad's 2011 season schedule, an 18-game slate that features three 2010 NCAA Division II tournament qualifiers and 11 teams that finished with winning records last season.

The Pioneers finished 9-9-1 last season and 3-5-1 in the South Atlantic Conference, and advanced to the Food Lion SAC Tournament semifinals for the 10th time in 12 years. Joy will begin his 15th season at Tusculum with a 190-84-19 record and 20th overall as a head coach at the collegiate level with a record of 276-109-24.

Tusculum continues its tradition of an aggressive non-conference schedule with games against defending Peach Belt Conference champion Columbus State, reigning Sunshine State Conference regular-season champion Nova Southeastern and 2010 NCAA tournament qualifier Armstrong Atlantic State. The Pioneers' nine non-conference opponents combined for a 96-61-11 record in 2010, with seven of the nine foes finishing at .500 or better.

The Pioneers open their 2011 season by hosting the Tusculum Kickoff Tournament at Pioneer Field on Saturday, Sept. 2 and Sunday, Sept. 4. Three games will be played on Saturday, led by the Pioneers' season opener against Montevallo at 4 p.m. and followed by Georgia College against Lenoir-Rhyne at 6 p.m. and Southern Indiana against Columbus State at 8 p.m.

Action continues Sunday when the Pioneers face off at noon with Columbus State, which finished 19-2-1 last season and won the Peach Belt Conference championship before being eliminated 1-0 by Lenoir-Rhyne in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Southern Indiana and Georgia College wrap up the Kickoff Tournament with a 2 p.m. game.

After a match at Lees-McRae on Sept. 7, the Pioneers travel to Milledgeville, Georgia for two games at Georgia College's Bobcat Shootout. Tusculum plays Nova Southeastern on Sept. 9 and battles the host Bobcats on Sept. 11.

Another road battle awaits one week later when the Pioneers head to Savannah, Georgia to play Armstrong Atlantic State on Sept. 18. AASU finished 14-4-2 last season, including a 4-1 win over the Pioneers in Greeneville, and advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament. In their final tuneup before SAC play gets underway, the Pioneers host Concord from the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on Sept. 21.

Tusculum kicks off its SAC schedule on Sept. 24 with a trip to Wingate, then the Pioneers enjoy three consecutive home games against conference foes Brevard (Sept. 28), Newberry (Oct. 1) and Mars Hill (Oct. 5). The Pioneers then step back outside the league for its final two non-conference matchups: at King on Oct. 8 and at Young Harris on Oct. 13.

The Pioneers wrap up their regular season with five league contests, starting Oct. 15 at Anderson. The home schedule winds down the following week with contests against Lincoln Memorial (Oct. 19) and Senior Day against Catawba on Oct. 22. Tusculum ends the regular season on the road, traveling to Carson-Newman on Oct. 26 and to Lenoir-Rhyne on Oct. 29 for a battle with the Bears, who won the SAC regular-season and tournament titles and advanced all the way to the NCAA Division II quarterfinals.

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