Season Begins Aug. 30 For Rebels|
May 20, 2013
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) -
A trip to the East Coast to start the season and three games against 2012 NCAA Tournament teams highlight the 2013 UNLV men's soccer slate, which was released by the athletics department on Monday.
"We're very happy with the schedule we've put together for this season, especially with our non-conference opponents that will both challenge us and help out our overall schedule strength," said UNLV Head Coach Rich Ryerson. "Facing a nationally strong program like UMBC on the opening weekend on the road as well as Delaware will test our team early. The teams we have coming into Las Vegas in September will be not only good challenges, but also help our schedule strength which was a key for us this upcoming season. We also have a pair of games against Big West schools on the road near the end of September, including a game at Cal State Northridge, a team that's had success nationally the past few years and we've been fortunate enough to claim wins over the last two seasons."
UNLV will begin the year with its first games in the Eastern Time Zone in six years with an Aug. 30 contest at Delaware in Newark, followed by a Sept. 1 game at UMBC in Baltimore, Md. The last time the Rebels played a game on the opposite coast was in 2007 at Florida Gulf Coast and at Florida Atlantic. It's the first time UNLV will play in the Northeast since a pair of games in New Jersey in the 1996 season for the Rutgers Metlife Tournament. The opener will be the first time that UNLV and Delaware have met in men's soccer. It will be the fourth meeting with UMBC, but the first outside of Las Vegas after games in 1994, 1999 and 2006. UMBC was a 2012 NCAA participant as well, reaching the second round.
The squad then comes back to Las Vegas to host the UNLV Nike Invitational at Peter Johann Memorial Field. The Rebels will face Bradley on Sept. 6 and Georgia State on Sept 8, with UC Riverside rounding out the four-team field. Both Bradley and Georgia State are first-time opponents for UNLV. The following weekend will see the first contest against Gonzaga since 2008, as the Rebels host the Bulldogs on Sept. 13.
UNLV will close out its non-conference schedule with three straight games against California schools. A road trip against 2012 NCAA participant Cal State Northridge (Sept. 20) and at UC Riverside (Sept. 22) will be followed by a home contest against former conference rival Sacramento State on Sept. 28 in Las Vegas.
For the 2013 season the Rebels made the move from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), and will open league play with five straight games against fellow teams that made the same switch. The WAC schedule for UNLV starts with a home contest on Oct. 5 against CSU Bakersfield, and the following two weekends will see UNLV play Seattle and San Jose State twice, the first coming at home (Oct. 11 and 13) and the second on the road (Oct. 18 and 20).
The first new league rival for UNLV will be UMKC, who the Rebels will play for the first time in history on Oct. 25 in Las Vegas, and that will be followed by two more games against teams that moved from the MPSF. UNLV will play its home finale on Oct. 27 against Houston Baptist and then face Air Force, the 2012 MPSF championships and the third NCAA team on the slate, on Nov. 1. The final new WAC member is Grand Canyon, which is also in its first year as a Division 1 program. The Rebels will make their visit to Phoenix to meet the Antelopes on Nov. 3. The regular season concludes for UNLV on Nov. 9 at CSU Bakersfield and the 2013 WAC Tournament will be hosted by Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Nov. 14-17.
"Though we are playing in a new conference with the WAC, the majority of the teams we'll face are still the same," said Ryerson. "With New Mexico and Denver gone, and with several other teams having graduated key impact players, this upcoming season should truly be wide-open for the conference title."
UNLV will bring back seven starters for the 2013 season, highlighted by junior Salvador Bernal, a two-time first team all-conference forward and a 2012 NSCAA All-Region Third Team selection.