Saint Leo, Fla. (June 6, 2008) – The Saint Leo University women’s soccer team has unveiled its schedule for the 2008 season. The Lions will play 10 road matches, and eight home matches in 2008 including the season opener at home against Clearwater Christian College on Thursday, August 28 at 5:00 p.m.
Saint Leo will face a difficult early-season test in the second week of the season, as the Lions will travel to Pensacola, Fla. to face the University of West Florida on September 5 (6:00 p.m. ET). Last year, Saint Leo defeated UWF for the first time in program history with a 2-1 home triumph early in the 2007 campaign.
The Lions also face a tricky trip to Montevallo, Ala. on Sunday, September 14 and a rematch of last year’s South Region Tournament match against the University of Montevallo. UM ended Saint Leo’s season with a come-from-behind 2-1 double-overtime win at University Field last November. The September 14 match will kick-off at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Sunshine State Conference play begins with a home fixture against the defending NCAA Division II National Champion University of Tampa on Tuesday, September 23 in what has become one of the premier rivalries in the SSC. Last year, Saint Leo won for the first time ever against the Spartans with a 1-0 victory in the regular season at UT’s Pepin Stadium. However, for the second year running, the Spartans finished ahead of the Lions in the regular season standings and also won the SSC Tournament crown with a 1-0 extra-time win in the championship match.
Along with the home SSC opener versus Tampa, the Lions will also host Eckerd College, Barry University and Nova Southeastern University in conference action at University Field. The match versus NSU will be the final game of the regular season on Wednesday, October 29 at 5:00 p.m.
The 2008 SSC Tournament will begin on Tuesday, November 4 with quarterfinal matches, while the semifinals and final will be played on November 7 and 9, respectively. NCAA post-season play begins on November 13 or 14 with regional competitions, while the 2008 NCAA Division II National Finals will be hosted by the University of Tampa on December 5-7.
Head coach Ged O’Connor guided the Lions to the most successful season in program history in 2007, establishing new program records for overall wins in a single season (15), matching the program record for conference wins (6) and earning their second consecutive berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament. During the 2007 campaign Saint Leo also advanced to the SSC Tournament Final, and was runner-up in the SSC for the second consecutive season. The Lions will return 13 players from the 2007 team and have already added eight new players ahead of the 2008 campaign.