April 9, 2014
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall women’s soccer coach Kevin Long has announced the Thundering Herd’s upcoming fall schedule. Two 2013 NCAA College Cup participants, 11 conference tournament qualifiers and four first meetings highlight the 2014 campaign.
“We are excited about the upcoming schedule,” Long said. “There are a lot of new teams mixed in with some great traditional rivalries. Our non-conference schedule is probably our most competitive schedule we have ever put together. Many of our opponents put us on the national stage, which is very exciting, and I am eager to see how the Herd responds. What we do know is that the tough competition in non-conference, by design, hopefully prepares us to make a longer run in C-USA play.”
Action will commence with the first-ever fall exhibition matches held at Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex, Aug. 14 and 17, against Virginia Tech and VMI. Last season, the Hokies handed No. 1 Virginia its first loss of its 2013 campaign, snapping its school record 20-match win streak in the ACC Tournament semifinals (Nov. 8, 2013). After making its way to its first-ever NCAA College Cup, No. 4 seed Virginia Tech fell to No. 3 seed Florida State (Dec. 6, 2013) in the semifinals.
Marshall will conclude exhibition play by hosting VMI, Aug. 17, which the Herd defeated last season in scrimmage play, 3-0.
Next, in its regular-season opener, Marshall will travel to Charlottesville, Va. to take on another 2013 NCAA College Cup semifinalist – Virginia.
“Virginia, right out of the gate…while falling short of the championship trophy last year, there is zero doubt about the level UVA brings to the field each and every time they play,” Long said. “This UVA group is so well-coached, filled with fantastic players and mentally prepared for the many roadblocks the college season can throw at you. When we mentioned the possibility of playing them in our season opener, our players looked around and you could sense they knew the significance of this game. Each and every player responded the same way: to be the very best we can be, we have to compete against the very best. This game, then, speaks for itself.”
The Herd will face the Cavaliers who, last year, reached the College Cup for the first time in 22 seasons, setting school records with 78 goals, 80 assists, 236 points and 16 shutouts. No. 1 seed Virginia fell to eventual NCAA champion UCLA in penalty kicks in the semifinals, following a 1-1 draw (Dec. 7, 2013). The Cavaliers ended the season at 24-1-1, setting a record for wins in a season. August 22 will mark the first-ever meeting between Marshall and Virginia.
Next, the Herd will gear up for its home opener against Virginia Commonwealth at Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex (Aug. 24). Marshall is 0-2-0 all-time versus the Rams, last meeting in 2011. Last season, VCU fell to Dayton in the Atlantic-10 Tournament quarterfinals.
Another first meeting is scheduled for Aug. 29, when the Herd takes on Eastern Illinois in Charleston, Ill. The Panthers lost to SIUE in the opening round of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament last season.
A three-match home stand will begin with Purdue (Sept. 4), followed by Appalachian State (Sept. 7). Marshall has met each of these teams only once before, losing to the Boilermakers in 2003 and downing the Mountaineers in 2010. The homestand ends with the Herd meeting Cincinnati for the first time in regular-season play, Sept. 12. Last season, the Herd fell to the Bearcats, 2-1, in exhibition play.
Marshall will complete non-conference play with a road trip to Eastern Kentucky (Sept. 14) and Miami (Ohio) (Sept. 19). The Herd is unbeaten versus the Colonels, 2-0-0, last meeting in 2011. Last season, Marshall hosted the RedHawks and shut them out, 1-0, at Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex. Miami went on to fall to Ball State in penalty kicks, 4-2, in the Mid-American Conference Tournament semifinals.
To open its Conference USA slate, the Herd will host league newcomer Western Kentucky (Sept. 27). Last season, the Hilltoppers lost to South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship. The only meeting all-time between Marshall and Western Kentucky was Sept. 20 2009, when the Herd fell, 4-1.
The team’s first Conference USA road trip of 2014 will be at Charlotte and Old Dominion. The reigning C-USA East Division Champion 49ers ended Marshall’s 2013 postseason run in the C-USA Championship quarterfinals. The Herd took the first meeting between Marshall and the Lady Monarchs, 1-0, at Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex (Sept. 27, 2013).
Next, the Herd will return home for four matches, beginning with a first-ever meeting with UTSA, followed by UTEP, UAB and Middle Tennessee. Marshall is 2-5-0 and 2-7-1 all-time versus the Miners and Blazers, respectively. Last season, the Herd won its first meeting with the Blue Raiders, 2-1, in overtime at Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex.
The regular season ends with a three-match road trip to Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech and FIU. Marshall leads the all-time series with the Eagles, 7-2-1, with the teams’ first-ever draw coming last season in Hattiesburg, Miss., 0-0, after two overtimes. The Lady Techsters blanked the Herd, 2-0, in the teams’ first meeting last year in Ruston, La. In its 2013 regular-season finale, Marshall defeated FIU, 1-0, to qualify for the C-USA Championship.
Returning nine of 11 starters, the Herd will welcome back 2013 All-Conference USA third team defender Alyssa Cathey (Fort Collins, Colo.) and leading scorer Myka DeMarco (Dallas) for their senior seasons. Goalkeeper Lizzie Kish (Boyertown, Pa.) will also return to the net after tying for most shutouts in a Marshall season with nine in 2013.
“While having a record-setting season on defense last year, we hope to continue that trend while creating a little more offense to take some of the pressure off our backs and keeper,” Long said. “Many games were decided by our ability to finish the opportunities we had, and we hope that this team shows a little more composure in front of the attacking goal. The Herd returns our top five scorers from a season ago and we bring back 12 of 14 players who earned an assist or goal last season. We are hoping that our experience converts to more offensive product.”
For the complete schedule with dates and times, view the Marshall women’s soccer schedule. For all the latest information about Herd women’s soccer, follow @HerdWSoccer on Twitter.