Sunday, August 16, 2015

Firebirds Men’s Soccer Announces 2015 Schedule

Senior GK Louis Connor returns to lead UDC

From our friends at UDC Athletics...

Three Division II NCAA Tournament teams from 2014, an intriguing season-opening tournament in Delaware, and an always challenging East Coast Conference lineup highlight the University of the District of Columbia Men's Soccer 2015 schedule, announced by fifth-year head coach Matt Thompson on Tuesday, August 11th. All Saturday home games will be played at Long Bridge Park in Arlington, VA and weekday home games will be played at Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, MD.

The Firebirds are coming off their winningest season since 2004 as UDC finished the 2014 season, 9-7-1 overall and 5-5 in league play. Thompson's squad needed a tie or a victory in its season finale at home to earn the program's first ECC Tournament berth but suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime loss to Dowling.

UDC opens the 2015 season at the Wildcat Invitational, hosted by Wilmington University in Newark, DE. There, the Firebirds will take on two consecutive Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) teams, Bloomfield and Wilmington. First UDC will kick off the season vs. Bloomfield on Thursday, September 3rd, and then battle the host Wildcats on Saturday, September 5th. The Firebirds and Bears (formerly Deacons) last met in the nation's capital on October 7, 2007 when Samer Shehadeh scored his 2nd goal of the game in double overtime to lead UDC to a 3-2 victory. Last year, UDC edged Wilmington, 2-1 on a blistering hot afternoon in a game that would have gone to overtime if not for a last-second Wildcat goal being waved off due to a Wilmington penalty committed against the goalkeeper.

Another CACC opponent awaits UDC on September 9th as the Firebirds visit Philadelphia to take on Chestnut Hill under its first-year head coach Julian Fernandez. UDC controlled the tempo in a 2-0 victory over the Griffins at home last season. Thompson is 8-1 all-time at UDC vs. teams in the CACC.

UDC will host its season home opener on Saturday, September 12th vs. California (Pa.) of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). The Vulcans and Firebirds tied, 3-3 in a thrilling matchup at the Phillipsburg Soccer Facility in California, PA when the two teams met early last season.

Next, the Firebirds travel to Erie, PA to take on another PSAC team and 2014 NCAA Division II Tournament qualifier, Mercyhurst. The Lakers have advanced to the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals the last six consecutive years.

The Firebirds will open the ECC portion of their schedule on Saturday, September 19th at home vs. Roberts Wesleyan. UDC has won the last two meetings against the Redhawks. Four days later, the Firebirds welcome pre-season No. 11 nationally-ranked LIU Post for another ECC contest. The Pioneers are coming off a record-setting season where they finished 16-5-2 and won the program's first-ever East Region title.

After those two challenging home games, UDC goes back on the road to take on Bridgeport on September 26th. The Firebirds are 0-3 vs. the Purple Knights since joining the ECC, including a 2-1 loss at home last year. An away non-conference game a short distance away in Takoma Park, MD vs. Washington Adventist follows on September 30th.

UDC will then host four straight home games, including three straight conference games vs. Mercy (10/3), St. Thomas Aquinas (10/7) and reigning ECC champion, NYIT (10/10). October 14th, the Firebirds will host non-region foe Gannon.

Four consecutive road conference matches conclude the season as follows: Daemen on October 17th, Molloy on October 21st, Dowling on October 24th and Queens on October 28th.

The top four teams from the ECC qualify for the Championship Tournament which will be played on the higher seed's campus site throughout. The semifinals are November 4th and the Finals are November 6th.

Click here for this year's full schedule; and click here for this season's tentative roster.