GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum College women’s soccer team will face seven teams that advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament, including the defending national champion as the 2008 schedule was released by Pioneer head coach Mike Joy.
This year’s 19-match slate will be one of the toughest ever encountered by a Tusculum women’s soccer team. The Pioneers return 17 letterwinners, including nine starters from last year’s 15-7 squad that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for a second straight season.
Before TC opens the new season in late August, the Pioneers will embark upon a one week European Exhibition Tour from Aug. 10-17. Tusculum will play matches in Germany and Holland as the Pioneers get ready for the 2008 campaign.
TC will host the 2008 Tusculum Soccer Classic to open the regular season. The Pioneers open against Nova Southeastern on Aug. 29. The Sharks posted an 11-4-2 record, while finishing third in the Sunshine State Conference and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament. TC will close out the Classic on Aug. 31 as the Pioneers host Mount Olive at Pioneer Field.
The following weekend, Tusculum will travel to Columbus, Ga. to play a pair of neutral site matches. On Sep. 5, TC faces Georgia College & State University, who posted a 13-5 worksheet in 2007 and finished fourth in the Peach Belt Conference. Two days later, the Pioneers will face defending national champion Tampa. The Spartans posted a 20-2-2 record, including a hard-fought 1-0 win over Tusculum in last year’s meeting.
Tusculum returns home for five straight at Pioneer Field, beginning with a Sep. 12 rematch of last year’s NCAA Region final between TC and Columbus State. The Pioneers and Cougars split the two meetings a season ago. TC won 1-0 on Aug. 31, 2007, before CSU responded three months later with a 2-0 win in the Southeast Region final. The Cougars posted a 20-3-2 record and finished fifth in the nation.
Armstrong Atlantic will come to Greeneville on Sep. 14 for Tusculum’s third straight foe who advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Pirates went 14-5-1, with one of those losses coming in a 4-1 setback to Tusculum in Savannah, Ga.
Tusculum will host Southern Virginia on Sep. 17, before opening South Atlantic Conference play against defending league champion Lincoln Memorial. The Lady Railsplitters posted a 15-5-1 record, including wins over Tusculum in the regular season and in the semifinals of the SAC Tournament. Tusculum exacted revenge in the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 3-1 win over LMU.
TC will close out the home-stand with a Sep. 27 match against Brevard in the first-ever SAC meeting between the two schools.
Tusculum begins the first of five straight on the road with an Oct. 1 match at arch-rival Carson-Newman. The Lady Eagles posted a 14-6 record a year ago as the teams split the two meetings. C-N won the regular season encounter 1-0 at Pioneer Field, before Tusculum answered with a 2-1 decision in Jefferson City in the SAC Tournament quarterfinals. The Lady Eagles advanced to the NCAA Tournament before being eliminated in the second round by Columbus State.
The Pioneers venture to Newberry on Oct. 4 for a league contest. Tusculum defeated Newberry 1-0 in a double-overtime thriller. Newberry went 8-5-6 and finished tied for second in the SAC.
Tusculum goes to Mars Hill on Oct. 7, before traveling to Pfeiffer three days later on Oct. 10. Pfeiffer went 10-7-4 to finish second in Conference Carolinas. After an Oct. 12 road trip to Chowan, Tusculum returns to Pioneer Field to face SAC foe Catawba on Oct. 18. The Catawba Indians tied for second in the leag