Men’s soccer faces ‘strong test’

Men's Soccer Team

The men’s soccer team begins its season in August. — Photo: Steve Woltmann

The men’s soccer team’s 19-game exhibition and regular-season slate will feature eight matches at Flames Field, a trip to Washington and tough matchups against Denver and Drake.

“We welcome the strong test of opening the 2016 season on the road with two matches over 1,700 miles away against San Diego State and Gonzaga, while our Horizon League schedule continues to get stronger each season as the quality in our league remains on the up,” said head men’s soccer coach Sean Phillips.

“We have a group of seniors who have been around for two Horizon League regular season championships that are supported by several players that have played big minutes since joining our program as freshmen, so our group is mature enough and ready for another great season.”

The Flames start the season with a pair of exhibition matches on the road. UIC heads to Indianapolis Aug. 16 before returning to Chicago for an Aug. 20 match at Loyola.

The regular season opens Aug. 26­–28 as the Flames trek to Spokane, Washington, to take on San Diego State for the first time in program history, then challenge Gonzaga for the first time at Luger Field.

UIC will begin play at Flames Field Sept. 2 against Marquette. On Sept. 4, Denver, which was ranked No. 10 at the end of the 2015 campaign in the NSCAA Coaches Poll, heads to the Windy City to square off with the Flames. The three-game home stint will close out Sept. 10 as the 2015 Horizon League regular season champions open conference play against Milwaukee.

A crosstown rivalry matchup is slated for Sept. 14 with the Flames making the short trip to DePaul. UIC heads to Dayton, Ohio, for a match Sept. 17 against Wright State. The month closes with a nonconference game versus Drake at Flames Field Sept. 20 and a match at Green Bay Sept. 24.

“We are excited to have two teams in the top 60 from last year’s RPI rankings at Flames Field this fall,” Phillips said. “Denver finished last year’s regular season ranked in the NSCAA’s Top Ten with the only unbeaten record in the country, while Drake was one of the hottest teams in the Midwest en route to winning the MVC Tournament Championship and winning on the road against Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament.”

The Flames host Northern Kentucky Oct. 1, then head to Northern Illinois Oct. 4. UIC is back in action at Flames Field Oct. 8 with against Detroit and will play its final nonconference game of the season Oct. 11 at Northwestern.

After going head-to-head with Cleveland State in Ohio Oct. 15, the Flames will host back-to-back matches at Flames Field against Valparaiso (Oct. 22) and Belmont (Oct. 29). UIC caps the regular season Nov. 4 when the team heads to Rochester, Michigan, for a game against reigning Horizon League champion Oakland.

The Horizon League Championship begins Nov. 7.

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