NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont women's soccer will enjoy the friendly confines of their home facility at E.S. Rose Park for much of the 2017 campaign. Head Coach Heather Henson announced the upcoming season's slate that features 10 home matches including a four-game home stand to kick off the year.
The Bruins return a plethora of experience with 18 letterwinners coming back, nine of which started in most of the squad's games last year. In addition to experience, BU welcomes seven talented newcomers who will play a large role in Belmont's quest for a conference title. This will be the first time since 2007 that Belmont will play 10 games on their home turf.
Before officially getting the 2017 season underway, the Bruins will host neighborhood rival Lipscomb (Aug. 11) as well as in-state foe Chattanooga (Aug. 13) for a pair of exhibition matches. The two games will not count towards their record, but will provide both the teams as well as fans a chance to preview what's in store.
From there Belmont will open the regular season with a four-game home swing, welcoming Middle Tennessee on Aug. 18 for the first official match. The Bruins will then host Western Carolina (Aug. 25), Tennessee Wesleyan (Aug. 27) and Tennessee (Sept. 1). It will be only the second time that the Bruins have faced off with both the Catamounts and the Volunteers as well as their first-ever meeting with the Bulldogs.
It won't be until the third week of play that BU will hit the road and travel to Valparaiso, Indiana where they will take on the Crusaders on Sunday, Sept. 3. The Bruins will then return to Nashville for a short stint to play UIC (Sept. 8) before heading to Alabama-Birmingham (Sept. 10) to wrap up their nonconference slate.
Coming off their first OVC tournament appearance since 2013, Belmont has their eyes set on returning in 2017 with hopes of taking home the title. The Bruins journey will start at the home of the reigning conference champions, the SIUE Cougars on Friday, Sept. 15. After that the squad will head back to Rose Park for another four-game stint. The first contest will be against Austin Peay (Sept. 17) followed up with Eastern Illinois (Sept. 22), Tennessee Tech (Sept. 29) and Jacksonville State (Oct. 1).
BU will then spend the weekend of Oct. 6-8 on the road, first meeting UT Martin (Oct. 6) before heading to Cape Girardeau, Mo. to play SEMO (Oct. 8). The Bruins will conclude their home slate with Murray State on Sunday, Oct. 15. They'll then travel to Morehead State (Oct. 20) and close out the regular season at Eastern Kentucky, Sunday, Oct. 22.
The Ohio Valley Conference Tournament will begin Oct. 27 at campus sites with the higher seeds hosting matches at home. The semifinals and finals will be hosted by the No. 1 seed on November 3 and 5. This will be the first year that the OVC Tournament will expand its field to eight teams versus the previous six squad bracket.