CHICAGO -For Saint Xavier University men's soccer coach Ed Vucinic, August cannot get here soon enough. August 24 marks the 2011 season opener for his Cougars and Vucinic has worked hard these past few months to make sure his team's schedule for this fall is especially challenging. With six of the eight non-conference games on the schedule against teams that qualified for their respective national tournaments, including two that earned quarterfinal berths, Vucinic is certain that his squad will be motivated and eager for the top-notch competition.
"I'm excited about our upcoming schedule next fall and my philosophy has always been to challenge ourselves against the best competition we can," said Vucinic. "To say our schedule is tough would be a serious understatement. We will be jumping in the deep end testing ourselves against some of the best teams in the country at our level. We will find out what we are made of very quickly."
One of the highlights for next season is a huge home match-up against eight-time NAIA national champion Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.). The game is scheduled for Saturday, September 10, at 7 p.m. at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago and will mark the first time the Blue Raiders have played the Cougars on their home field. SXU will also play No. 16 ranked Azusa Pacific University (Calif.) on the campus of Wheaton College (Ill.) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 15. In addition, the Cougars will play 2010 NAIA quarterfinalists, Grand View University (Iowa) and Savannah College of Art & Design (Ga.) on the road.
Saint Xavier is coming off one of its best seasons to date finishing 15-6-1 overall and qualifying for the opening round of the 2010 NAIA Men's Soccer National Championship by upsetting No. 1 seed and then-No. 25 ranked Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), 2-1, in overtime in the championship game of the 2010 CCAC Men's Soccer Tournament. It was the program's first appearance in the NAIA Men's Soccer National Championship since its inception in 1991. SXU was ranked as high as No. 16 in the national rankings and finished the year ranked No. 24.