Men's soccer announces program's inaugural schedule

WOLVERINEGREENDOTCOM Head coach Greg Maas addresses the team at a recent training session
Head coach Greg Maas addresses the team at a recent training session

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OREM, Utah -- Utah Valley University men's soccer head coach Greg Maas unveiled the program's inaugural schedule Tuesday, a fixture list that includes eight home games, a full slate of Western Athletic Conference matches, and the university's Homecoming Game on Sept. 12.

The two-game preseason schedule gets underway Aug. 18 when the Wolverines meet the Real Salt Lake Reserves on the road. Another away friendly awaits UVU at Northwest Nazarene on Aug. 23 before it makes its home debut in its regular season opener against UMass on Aug. 30. That game will be played under the lights at 7:30 p.m. at Clyde Field.

A road trip to Chicago to face DePaul and Loyola Chicago over September's first weekend gives way to a short, two-game homestand that sees Gonzaga and Denver visit Orem. The Wolverines and Bulldogs face off in UVU's Homecoming Game on Sept. 12 before the Pioneers roll into Clyde Field on Sept. 19. Gonzaga finished last season at 10-6-3 and ended the year with an RPI ranking of 36. Meanwhile, Summit League champion DU was 13-3-4 last season, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.

"Our inaugural match against UMass will set the standard for what to expect at Clyde Field," said Maas. "Gonzaga and Denver are top-25 level programs and garner a much-deserved amount of respect. Hosting those matches at Clyde Field, in front of our supporters, will provide UVU men's soccer a proper stage to gain a foothold in the West."

The non-conference slate winds to a close with two neutral site matches when Utah Valley takes part in the UNLV Nike Invitational. While there, the Wolverines meet UC Riverside and UC Irvine. The Anteaters of UCI finished the 2013 season ranked 13th in the NSCAA Coaches Poll and advanced all the way to the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament before falling to eventual national runner-up Maryland.

"As a first-year, first-ever NCAA DI program in Utah, I believe it was important to schedule talented, recognizable opponents," Maas said of his non-league schedule. "The state of Utah holds a very knowledgeable and passionate soccer community and I know the quality of our schedule will foster tremendous interest and excitement."



UVU will open the month of October with its first-ever WAC contest at home against defending champion Seattle U. The Redhawks are coming off a banner season in which they finished 7-0-3 in league play and knocked off Midwestern power Creighton in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. SU also kicks off the longest homestand of the season as Grand Canyon (Oct. 10) and UNLV (Oct. 12) trail the WAC opener.

"We'll know right where we stand after October 4," Maas said. "Seattle is a talented team with the momentum of a WAC championship and an NCAA Tournament berth on their side. They'll be a very difficult opponent. In fact, I believe the entire WAC is an up-and-coming soccer conference that will continue to improve year after year."

The homestand gives way to the longest road trip of the season when Utah Valley hits the road for three straight WAC matches. The Wolverines will rematch with SU -- the only WAC opponent they will face twice in 2014 -- on Oct. 18 before traveling to Air Force (Oct. 24) and Kansas City (Oct. 26). UVU returns to Orem to wrap up the home season with two more games, facing fellow WAC-newcomer Incarnate Word on Oct. 31 before the home finale against Houston Baptist on Nov. 2. From there, the Wolverines close out the year in California with two away fixtures at Bakersfield -- last season's WAC runner-up -- and San José State.

Those nine WAC contests will set the seeding for the WAC Tournament, which takes place Nov. 13-16 in Seattle.