Boiling Springs, N.C. - The Gardner-Webb athletics program, in conjunction with head men's soccer coach Tony Setzer, is pleased to announce the Runnin' Bulldogs' upcoming 2012 fall schedule. The 2012 slate includes three matches against Atlantic Coast Conference competition, as well as GWU's first-ever match against a current Big East Conference opponent.
"This is by far one of the toughest schedules we have ever had," stated Coach Setzer. "Not many schools, if any, can say they are starting the season off with the two teams that played in the NCAA National Championship match the previous season - as we will take on the 2011 runner-ups in Charlotte in an exhibition to start the season before opening up the regular season on the road at North Carolina, the defending national champions. Our schedule also includes a total of three matches against ACC foes, a match at Big East member Cincinnati and other matches against top-25 caliber programs in Furman, Dayton, Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina."
The challenging 2012 slate will kick-off with a road exhibition contest at Charlotte on Friday, August 19th, at 7 p.m. in Charlotte, N.C. The 49ers made national news last season, as the Atlantic 10 member advanced all the way to the 2011 NCAA College Cup National Championship game before losing to the Tarheels of North Carolina.
Gardner-Webb's regular season opener will be against those very Tarheels of North Carolina, as the Runnin' Bulldogs will travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. to do battle with the defending national champions on Saturday, August 25th, at 7 p.m.
The Runnin' Bulldogs will then return to Boiling Springs, N.C. for their 2012 home opener, as GWU will host Furman on Monday night, August 27th, at 7 p.m. at Green-Harbison Field.
The following weekend, the Runnin' Bulldogs will take part in the Big South/SoCon Challenge, in which GWU will face off with host Wofford College on Friday, August 31st, at 7:30 p.m. and then will do battle with the Eagles of Georgia Southern on Sunday, October 2nd, at 1 p.m. in Spartanburg, S.C.
GWU will remain on the road for their next four contests, as the Runnin' Bulldogs will travel to the state of Ohio to take on Dayton on Friday, September 14th, at 5:30 p.m. in Dayton, Ohio, and Cincinnati on Sunday, September 16th, at 2 p.m. in Cincinnati, Ohio. Both match ups will be firsts for the Runnin' Bulldogs, who have never faced off with either the Flyers or the Bearcats on the pitch.
The road trip continues with GWU's Big South Conference opener at new member Longwood University on Saturday, September 22nd, at 7 p.m., before wrapping up in Raleigh, N.C. on Tuesday, September 25th, in a non-conference match up with N.C. State at 7 p.m.
Gardner-Webb's six-match road swing will be followed up with a three-match home stand, as the Runnin' Bulldogs will host Radford on Saturday, September 29th, at 7 p.m., Appalachian State three-days later on Tuesday, October 2nd, at 7 p.m. and Big South foe VMI on Saturday, October 6th, at 2 p.m. for an afternoon contest.
After back-to-back conference road matches at UNC Asheville on Wednesday, October 10th, at 4 p.m. and at High Point on Saturday, October 13th, at 7:30 p.m., the Runnin' Bulldogs will take on the Clemson Tigers of the ACC for the eighth straight season and the 10th time over the last 12 years. That match is slated for Tuesday night, October 16th, at 7 p.m. in Clemson, S.C.
The Runnin' Bulldogs then return home for a Big South Conference showdown with Coastal Carolina on Saturday, October 20th, at 7 p.m. at Green-Harbison Field, before hitting the road for conference bouts at Winthrop in Rock Hill, S.C. on Wednesday, October 24th, at 7 p.m. and at Liberty, the defending 2011 Big South Champions, in Lynchburg, Va. on Saturday, October 27th, at 2 p.m.
GWU will wrap up the regular season slate with home matches against Presbyterian on Wednesday night, October 31st, at 7 p.m. and against Campbell on Saturday night, November 3rd, at 7 p.m.
The 2012 Big South Men's Soccer Championship Tournament, which will consist of the top-eight teams record wise in terms of conference play, will take place on November 6th, 9th & 11th. The Championship quarterfinals, or the first round, will take place at the home sites of the top four seeds on Tuesday, November 6th, while the semifinals and the finals will be held at Bryan Park in Greensboro, N.C. on November 9th & 11th, respectively.