UNLV MEN’S SOCCER ANNOUNCES 2014 SCHEDULE
Rebels will host three tournaments in the month of September, season begins Aug. 29 on the road
Four games against teams that advanced to the second round of last year’s NCAA Tournament highlights the 2014 UNLV men’s soccer slate, which was released by the athletics department on Wednesday. The Rebels will play a total of 19 regular-season games with 11 in Las Vegas, including three regular season home tournaments in the month of September.
“I’m very excited to be hosting 11 games on our home field at Peter Johann Memorial,” said Ryerson. “With the level of non-conference competition that we have scheduled for the 2014 season, I believe it will prepare us to compete in the WAC at a very high level. Bradley, UMBC, UC Irvine, and Seattle are all very strong teams with a long history of success, and I’m happy we have the chance to challenge teams at that caliber.”
For the second straight season the Rebels will open the season on the road, this time with a first-ever trip to the state of Illinois for a pair of games in the Bradley Tournament. First up will be a neutral site contest against Western Illinois on Friday, Aug. 29, followed by a rematch against the host Bradley Braves on Aug. 31. The Braves, who reached the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2013, were handed a 4-1 loss in Las Vegas in last year’s meeting.
UNLV will then return home to host back-to-back tournaments, beginning with the inaugural Johann Memorial Classic. The Rebels will face a pair of first-time opponents in that tournament, taking on IPFW on Sept. 5 and Howard on Sept. 7. Bakersfield will be the fourth team in the field. The next weekend will be the UNLV Nike Invitational, where the Rebels will host UMBC on Sept. 12 (2013 NCAA second round appearance) and Detroit on Sept. 14. It will be the first meeting with the Detroit Titans since the 1999 season, while the Rebels have played UMBC a total of four times, including on the season-opening weekend in Baltimore last September. Cal State Fullerton will also be part of the Nike Invitational.
Following a road game at frequent road game at Gonzaga on Sept. 20, the Rebels return to Las Vegas for their third and final regular season tournament of September, the UNLV Rebel Classic. Opening up the weekend will be a contest against UC Irvine, a Sweet 16 squad from a year ago, on Sept. 26. UNLV will close out against UC Riverside on Sept 28, with Utah Valley serving as the fourth team.
The Rebels begin their second year back in the WAC, which welcomes Incarnate Word to the league as an affiliate member in the sport, and also adds a first-year program from current full-conference member Utah Valley. Under the new 10-game league schedule, each school will play everyone once except for one rival that will be a home-and-home series. For UNLV this year that will be with Grand Canyon, as the teams will open up the WAC schedule in Las Vegas on Oct. 5, before closing out the regular season in Phoenix on Nov. 2. The Rebels will have road conference games at Seattle (Oct. 10), Utah Valley (Oct. 12), Incarnate Word (Oct. 24) and Houston Baptist (Oct. 26). Making the trip to Las Vegas this year in league play will be Air Force (Oct. 17), Kansas City (Oct. 19), Bakersfield (Oct. 31) and San Jose State (Nov. 2). The 2014 WAC Tournament will be hosted by defending champion Seattle on Nov. 13-16.
“Incarnate Word had a very successful season last year while playing as an independent, and we are expecting Utah Valley to field an experienced team,” said Ryerson of the newest additions to the league. “I know that Grand Canyon has made significant changes to their roster, and with coaching changes at San Jose State and Bakersfield, we should have our hands full in the WAC. However, I’m excited to have eight seniors and nine juniors on the roster this fall, as I believe their maturing will help us achieve great heights this season.”
The Rebels placed third in the WAC last year at 5-4-1, and bring back nine starters from that squad. That includes all four all-conference selections, highlighted by senior Salvador Bernal, a two-time all-region selection.