CLINTON, Iowa – Head Coach Mick Regan and the Ashford University women's soccer team released their 2012 schedule on Monday. Highlighted are seven home dates and five matches against squads which qualified for the NAIA Women's Soccer National Championships last season.
In addition, six of AU's 16 games come against teams receiving votes in the final postseason top-25 poll of the 2011 season. Four of those contests are slated to be played in Clinton.
Following exhibition matches at the University of Northern Iowa (Aug. 14) and at Olivet Nazarene University (Aug. 22), the Saints open the 2012 campaign by visiting Marshall, Mo. on Aug. 25 and lining up against Missouri Valley College. That contest is followed up just three days later (Aug. 28) when the team visits Cedar Rapids to take on the Mustangs of Mount Mercy University.
Ashford's home opener opens a very busy month on Sept. 1 when Graceland University visits South Campus in Clinton. The Yellowjackets upset #10-seed Concordia (Calif.) last season in the opening round of the 2011 NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship before falling in the round of 16.
Robert Morris University, another tournament qualifier last season, then visits the very next afternoon (Sept. 2) before AU closes out the three-match home stretch by welcoming the Eagles of AIB College of Business to Clinton on Sept. 8.
The Saints travel to Trinity International University on Sept. 12 before hosting another former league opponent, Waldorf College, on Sept. 15. Three consecutive road matches follow which includes Judson University (Sept. 18), Avila University (Sept. 22) and Viterbo University (Sept. 26). A home contest against Bethel College rounds out the month on Sept. 29.
The Eagles of Judson finished 2011 as the #13-ranked squad in the nation and competed in the NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship where they were ousted in the opening round. JU notched a 16-4-2 record a season ago.
October sees the Saints play six matches and includes a road trip to the Pacific coast.
Ashford makes the short drive to Dubuque on Oct. 7 to play Clarke University before making the 1,600 mile venture to San Marcos, Calif. for a date with Cal State-San Marcos University on Oct. 12. The team continues its California trip the very next afternoon when it makes a stop in Aliso Viejo, Calif. to battle Soka University of America.
Cal State-San Marcos qualified for the 2011 NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship and landed as the #11-ranked team in the seasons' final poll after posting a 15-5-1 record.
The regular season comes to an end with three consecutive home clashes starting on Oct. 17 against Grand View University and ending on Oct. 24 against St. Ambrose University. Sandwiched in the middle is a battle with Jamestown College on Oct. 20.
The Queen Bees of St. Ambrose also qualified for the postseason tournament a year ago, before falling in the opening round. SAU ended 2011 with a 13-8-0 record and was listed as the #25-ranked squad in the NAIA.
AU will return to San Marcos, Calif. on Nov. 10-11 for the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Women's Soccer Tournament. Match times will be determined at a later date.