Campbell announces 2011 Men's Soccer schedule
After a 17-year tenure in the Atlantic Sun Conference (and claiming four league trophies since 2005), the Camels return to the Big South, of which CU was a charter member from 1984-93. In 10 seasons, Campbell won the Big South regular season title five times (1984, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993), the tournament championship on four occasions (1984, 1985, 1991, 1992) and finished as league tournament runner-up three years (1986, 1989, 1993).
The 19-game regular slate includes 14 matches that will be played in the state of North Carolina. After making A-Sun road trips to such destinations at Fort Myers, Fla., and Nashville, Tenn., CU's longest journey in 2011 will be a Sept. 17 journey to Baltimore to face Loyola.
"I am pleased to announce, perhaps our most challenging schedule to date for the 2011 season," said second-year head coach Steve Armas. "We believe this schedule will test us each and every week in preparation for Big South conference play."
The Camels open the season with traditional South Region power Furman in a 4:00 p.m. kick-off at the Eakes Athletic Complex. Campbell and the Paladins, who met in the first round of the 2007 NCAA College Cup, played to a scoreless draw last year at Greenville, S.C. Furman was ranked 10th in the final 2010 NSCAA South Region poll.
Furman is also the first of four Southern Conference schools to appear on the 2011 Camel slate, including Wofford (at the UNCW adidas Classic), plus Elon (Sept. 14) and Davidson (Sept. 21) at Buies Creek.
Campbell will also meet a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference foes - hosting North Carolina State on Oct. 4 and traveling to Virginia Tech a week later.
CU travels to its most frequent rival in the school's men's soccer history - UNC Wilmington - on Sept. 1 for the 46th game in the series. Nine of the last 13 meetings in the series - which Campbell leads by a 24-20-1 margin - have been decided by one goal. UNCW, which finished the 2010 season ranked 10th in the South Atlantic Region poll, defeated the Camels 3-1 last year in Buies Creek for the Seahawks' second-straight triumph in the series.
Just over a week later, the Camels return to Wilmington for the UNCW adidas Classic, where CU will meet Wofford and Hartford in the event.
Loyola, which made three-straight NCAA College Cup tournament appearances from 2006-09, entertains the Camels on Sept. 17. Last year the teams opened the season with a 0-0 tie at the Eakes Complex. The Greyhounds were rated fifth in the final 2010 North Atlantic Region ranking.
Charlotte, which concluded 2010 ranked first in the NSCAA Mid-Atlantic Region poll but missed out on an NCAA berth despite a 13-5-1 record, hosts Campbell on Sept. 24. CU claimed a 2-1 victory over the 49ers last season in Buies Creek thanks to a pair of Khalil Johnson goals.
Campbell has faced at least one Atlantic Coast Conference member in men's soccer in each of the last 18 years. This fall, the Camels will meet North Carolina State for the 32nd time in men's soccer. NC State holds a 23-6-2 edge in the all-time series. CU and Virginia Tech will square off in men's soccer for the first time since 1966 when the Hokies dealt the Camels a 3-2 setback in the only other meeting in the series.
Over the last six seasons, the Camels have compiled a 36-10-5 (.755) record in regular season conference play and captured three regular season titles (2005, 2008, 2009).
Campbell returns to Big South Conference play with a pair of home games vs. Radford (Sept. 28) and Gardner-Webb. CU owns a 12-7-0 all-time record against the Highlanders, but the teams have not met since 2000.
"We are excited to join the Big South, and look forward to developing rivalries within the conference," said Armas. "One of the challenges of moving to a new conference is the unknown that lies ahead. We will work diligently to prepare and compete in each of our in conference matches."
The Camels and Gardner-Webb resume their in-state rivalry on Oct. 1. In nine meetings when both schools were members of the Atlantic Sun Conference (2001-07), Campbell finished with a 6-2-1 record against the Bulldogs. GWU's only victory during that span came in 2006 in the semifinals of the A-Sun tournament as the Bulldogs won the conference title. One year later, CU began its run to the Atlantic Sun crown with a 6-1 win over the Bulldogs in the tournament first round.
Campbell will travel to Clinton, S.C., on Oct. 8 for its first-ever men's soccer meeting with Presbyterian. Last year, the Blue Hose finished 2-13-1 overall, 0-8-0 in the Big South.
The Camels meet old league rival Winthrop on Oct. 15 at Rock Hill, S.C., for the first time since the 1993 Big South semifinal when Campbell dealt the Eagles a 4-2 loss. CU owns a 14-2-0 all-time record against Winthrop, including triumphs in the 1984 and 1991 league title games.
CU and UNC Asheville resume a rivalry that began in 1985 on Oct. 22 at Asheville. CU stands 10-2-1 all-time against the Bulldogs, most recently a 2-1 overtime triumph on the road in 2007.
Liberty (Oct. 25) and VMI (Oct. 29) visit the Eakes Complex to round out the home portion of the schedule. CU holds a 10-7-1 edge in the all-time series with the Flames, while VMI won back-to-back, one-goal decisions over the Camels in 2005 and 2006 in the only prior contests between the schools.
Campbell closes out the campaign at the defending Big South regular season (High Point) and tournament (Coastal Carolina) champions. CU travels to High Point, which finished 16-4-1 overall, 8-0-0 in the league and was ranked sixth in the final 2010 South Atlantic Region poll.
CU owns a 9-3-2 record all-time against the Panthers, including a 2-0 road triumph in 2008. Campbell and Coastal Carolina have evenly split (10-10-1) 21 prior meetings, but haven't played in the regular season since 2001. The Chanticleers defeated High Point 3-1 in last year's Big South final to earn the league's automatic berth in the NCAA College Cup.
The eight-team Big South Tournament, hosted by Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs, N.C., begins with quarterfinal round matches on Thursday, Nov. 10. Semifinals are set for Friday, Nov. 11 followed by the championship on Sunday Nov. 13.
Campbell compiled a 17-6 record in Big South Tournament play from 1984-93.
Over the past five seasons, including four as an assistant, Armas has helped guide the Camels to three conference trophies, the team's first-ever berth in the NCAA College Cup and a year-end national ranking at the Division I level. Last year, Campbell earned its seventh-consecutive berth in the Atlantic Sun tournament and finished 6-9-4 overall.
Twelve letter winners, including nine starters, return from the 2010 club. Among those back are first-team all-conference midfielder Mitchell Cardenas (three goals, eight assists, 14 points in 2010), second-team all-league defender Ben Iiames (who played all but 13 minutes during the 2010 campaign) and A-Sun all-freshman team midfielder Justin Franz (three goals, two assists).
"Our returners have worked hard to become a better team in the spring," said Armas. "The combination of our veterans and an extremely capable incoming class, gives us the belief that we can see postseason play in 2011."