VCU Men’s Soccer and Head Coach Dave Giffard released their 2017 season schedule on Thursday. The Black & Gold came up short in the Atlantic 10 Championship match last season after Fordham hoisted the title after winning in Penalty Kicks. Looking through these matches, VCU will be tested against heavy opposition throughout the upcoming months.
In 2016, the Rams finished 8-9-4 overall and 6-3-2 during A-10 Play. VCU finished with 13 points in conference play to secure 5th place while making it to the A-10 Championship match for the second consecutive year. With 9 new faces hitting the pitch, VCU sprints into 2017 with a squad mixed with fresh talent and returning players gunning for A-10 silverware.
8/15 vs. Georgetown (Exhibition)
The Hoyas finished last season at 6-9-2 overall. Georgetown made it to the NCAA Championship match back in 2012.
8/19 at Pittsburgh (Exhibition)
2016 was not too kind for the Panthers. Pitt struggled throughout the season and ended at 2-13-3 record wise. Pittsburgh went winless during ACC Play (0-6-2) and could not defend their home turf going 0-5-2 at home in 2016.
8/25 vs. Oakland
In 2017 the Golden Grizzles are one of the favorites to win the Horizon League. Top-seeded Wright State defeated Oakland in the Horizon Semi-Finals last season via Penalty Kicks. Oakland finished 7-10-1 overall and beat A-10 member Dayton 1-0 last September.
8/27 vs. Appalachian State
The Mountaineers had an up and down season in 2016 while finishing 6-9-5 overall. Appalachian State has an experienced roster that competes well on the road (4 Away Victories Last Season).
9/1 vs. Iona
5-13 overall for the Gaels in 2016. Iona went 0-2 overall against the Top 25 last year.
9/3 vs. St. Francis (PA)
The Red Flash made it to the Northeast Conference Championship match for the third consecutive time. St. Francis went 12-6-2 overall and earned good road victories at Cincinnati, Penn State and Niagara consecutively.
9/10 at Florida Gulf Coast
FGCU finished 2016 at #20 in the Top 25 Rankings. The Eagles went 14-4-3 and collected the Atlantic Sun conference championship. In the NCAA tournament, FGCU defeated USF in the 1st round on PKs before losing to North Carolina 2-3 in Double OT.
9/19 at Old Dominion
VCU’s neighbors down in Norfolk had a topsy-turvy season. The Monarchs collected a signature win vs. #18 Radford however ODU finished the 2016 season at 6-9-2. In last year’s Commonwealth Derby, VCU dominated Old Dominion 5-1 at home with Luc Fatton netting in a 1st half hat-trick.
9/24 at Coastal Carolina
The Chanticleers (10-7-3) had a good first season in the Sun Belt Conference by winning the conference championship. Coastal Carolina earned their 14th NCAA Tournament bid and defeated Radford 2-1 in the 1st round. This match was postponed last season due to inclement weather at Sports Backers.
9/30 at UNCW
A former CAA rival for VCU, the Seahawks are building off of a 8-6-3 season overall. UNCW scored a 2-0 win over #5 Charlotte last year at home.
10/4 vs. Davidson
VCU opens up Atlantic 10 conference play against the Wildcats who finished near the bottom of the A-10 table in 2016. Last year, Davidson finished 2-5-1 in A-10 Play with 7 points and 4-12-1 overall. The Rams defeated Davidson 2-1 on the road back in October thanks to goals from Greg Boehme and Luc Fatton.
10/7 at Fordham
Fordham has the upper hand over VCU in this season’s Battle of the Rams. After beating VCU 3-2 in PKs to win the A-10 Tournament Title, Fordham is in search of Back to Back titles in 2017. Fordham did well in A-10 Play with 16 points to finish in 2nd place (5-2-1).
10/11 vs. Saint Louis
VCU vs Saint Louis will count in A-10 Conference Play this season unlike last year’s non-conference match in the Show-Me State that ended in a 1-1 Draw. The Billikens finished A-10 Play as the top dog in 2016 with 18 points and a 6-2 record.
10/14 vs. George Washington
The Colonials squeaked themselves into the A-10 tournament last season as the #8 seed over Dayton. Last season VCU faced GW in their first A-10 road match of the season and left with a point in the 2-2 Draw.
10/18 at George Mason
2016 is in the rear view for the Patriots as George Mason finished in last place in A-10 Play without a victory (0-7-1, 1 PT). George Mason managed to win only 2 matches last season and was defeated by VCU 2-0 at Sports Backers in the A-10 season opener.
10/21 at Saint Joseph’s
The Hawks look to soar from the bottom of the A-10 table and battle for a tournament seed. Saint Joseph’s finished 3-5 in A-10 Play and 6-11-1 overall. VCU defeated the Hawks 2-0 at Sports Backers last season.
10/24 at Maryland
A BIG test for the Rams near the end of their season awaits them in College Park against the Terps. Maryland returns most of their firepower from last season that was one of the top offenses in the country in 2016.
10/28 vs. Rhode Island
Senior Day has not been too kind for VCU as of late with heartbreaking defeats in recent years. VCU will look to send their Seniors home in style against Rhode Island whom the Rams defeated back in 2013 3-1 at home. Maryland held the #1 ranking for numerous weeks, won the Big Ten Tournament and earned the #1 seed for the NCAA Tournament. Maryland finished with a 18-1-2 record overall.
11/1 at St. Bonaventure
It has been 2 years since the Bonnies and the Rams faced off on the pitch. Back in 2015, VCU claimed a 2-0 victory over St. Bonaventure.
This is a very good mixture of competition for VCU that presents a different challenge in each match according to Coach Giffard. The Rams will need to win some key matches in Sports Backers while becoming road warriors in search of points as the visitors.
After the final whistle at St. Bonaventure in November, VCU will look to the results to see if the Rams are eligible for Atlantic 10 Tournament play where the Black & Gold look to seize their first A-10 conference championship.