Soccer schedule released for '05

Going into a season with a lot of new faces the Tigers will host nine games, while facing four teams that made it to the College Cup last season.

Season tickets for the upcoming year are on sale at the LSU Ticket Office for $35. Single-match tickets are also available for $5 for adults and $3 for youth. LSU students, faculty and staff are admitted free with an LSU ID. Fans can purchase tickets at the ticket office or call (225) 578-2184 or (800) 960-8587.

The Tigers have eight non-conference matches schedule including the Oregon tournament and games at Tulane and Birmingham Southern, who won the Big South Conference last year.

"The 2005 schedule offers our student-athletes an opportunity to test themselves against some top non-conference opposition in preparation for the conference season," said LSU head soccer coach Brian Lee. "A big key for is in 2005 and beyond is developing the best home environment in the Southeastern Conference. LSU fans are second to none and we can't wait to give them something to cheer about at the soccer stadium. It should be a lot of fun from start to finish."

LSU will open the season on the road on Aug. 26-28 in the Oregon Classic against Oregon State and host Oregon, two opponents from the PAC-10 conference.

"Facing two teams from a quality conference like the PAC-10 is a great way to open the season. We are proud to represent the SEC and the Oregon State and Oregon matches are a wonderful opportunity to measure where we stand to start the fall season."

The Tigers return home the following weekend to face South Alabama on Sept. 2 in the home opener. LSU will have three more home matches before going on the road to Tulane and Birmingham Southern to close out non-conference play.

"The coaches and players are looking forward to getting in front of the home fans and we are expecting a great crowd. We think Friday night soccer at LSU can become an staple entertainment event for the Baton Rouge soccer community and we can't wait to kickoff the home slate," said Lee. "ULL and Tulane are going to be tough tests and just from our spring matches the new staff already has a taste for the competitive nature of these in state matches. Scott Weiland (ULL) and Betsy Anderson (Tulane) are both coaches I have known for quite some time and I have a lot of respect for their ability to have their teams ready to perform."

LSU will start conference play at Kentucky on Sept. 23, and then head to Vanderbilt to finish up its first SEC weekend.

"We would prefer to open the SEC season at home, and our opening weekend will be a tough challenge. Kentucky is historically in the top half of the league and coach Ronnie Coveleskie-Hill of Vanderbilt has recruited a very talented, young team that will be well prepared. Each and every conference game will be a battle."

The next weekend the Tigers return home for their SEC home opener against Ole Miss on Sept. 30, as LSU goes on a four game SEC stand. LSU will close out the weekend with Mississippi State on Oct. 2.

"Along with Arkansas, these are the two teams I am probably least familiar with coming into the league. To be successful in the league, it will be important to hold serve and win at home. We are counting on the LSU faithful to make the LSU Soccer Stadium a very difficult place for visiting teams to play," said Lee.

Following the Ole Miss and Mississippi State weekend, the Georgia Bulldogs and the defending SEC regular season champion Tennessee Volunteers come to town.

"UGA is only two years removed from a second round berth in the NCAA's and have a new coach that put a team in the final four a few years ago (Pat Baker-FSU). Coach Baker is a good friend and I rate him among the very best coaches in America," said Lee. "Coach Kelly has elevated Tennessee into the elite level of programs in the country over the past four years. They easily could have landed in the final four in 2004 or 2003 and will be another fun test for us."

The Tigers will spend the next three games on the road, as they will travel to Alabama, Auburn and Florida. LSU will spend Oct. 14-16 in Alabama, as it will take on the Crimson Tide and the Tigers.

"This will be another difficult SEC road trip. Alabama is a big, physical team that will make Sunday's match tough win or lose Friday night. Coach Staley is a great guy and one of the legends of the women's college game. Sunday at Auburn will be one of the toughest conference games of the year. Auburn will be a preseason choice to land at or near the top of the conference. Head Coach Karen Hoppa and Associate Coach Matt Mott are one of the top coaching tandems in the USA and have built a great program on the plains."

In the last full weekend of the season, the Tigers will split the weekend home and away, as they will start the weekend in Gainesville against Florida on Friday, Oct. 21. They will then travel home to take on South Carolina at home on Senior Day on Sunday, Oct. 23.

"The last full weekend of the season will be a tremendous mental and physical challenge for us. To have to travel down to Florida and play one of the country's top programs on Friday night, travel most of Saturday and be back and ready for an early kickoff against another tough opponent on Sunday will be a test of our student-athletes mental and physical resiliency."

In the last match of the regular season LSU will travel to Fayetteville to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks before the SEC Tournament.

"We are looking forward to the final game of the year having major implications for championships and tournament seedings this fall and into the future. We are well aware that getting results in Fayetteville will not be easy."

The SEC Tournament will follow from Nov. 3-5 at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala. The last time the Tigers were in the SEC Tournament was in 2002 when they knocked off top seeded Auburn, 1-0, in the first round.

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