LEXINGTON, Va. – The VMI women’s soccer program has announced its 2011 schedule, according to information released by the program Tuesday.
The Keydets return Sarah Strand and Kelly Morrison, who both earned Second Team All-Big South honors last year. Strand, in fact, is a two-time All-Conference honoree out of the Keydet midfield, while VMI also returns last year’s leading scorer, Amanda Berrios. All three players will be seniors during the 2011 campaign.
The Keydets will travel to Washington, D.C. for an exhibition with American University on August 13, before returning to Patchin Field for their home opener on August 19, as VMI faces Howard at 5 p.m. A week later, Youngstown State comes to Lexington for a match, the Penguins’ first trip to Patchin Field. VMI faced Youngstown previously in 2005, winning 2-0 in head coach Bryan Williams’ first season on Post. In fact, that contest was Williams’ first road game as VMI’s head man.
After facing Southern Virginia on September 2, VMI travels to West Point, N.Y. for the Army Soccer Classic. After facing Navy each of the last four years, and battling Air Force for the first time last season, this will mark the Keydets’ first clash with the Black Knights. That will take place Sept. 9 as part of a four-team tournament, which will also see VMI face St. Bonaventure two days later.
Coach Williams’ squad then returns to its familiar pitch for a three-match homestand. In fact, five of six matches will be played at home during a run that begins Sept. 16 against UMBC. Longwood (Sept. 18) and Mount St. Mary’s (Sept. 23) will follow, before a quick trip to Spartanburg, S.C. to take on USC Upstate (Sept. 25).
UNC Asheville and Presbyterian College come to Lexington for the first weekend of conference play, taking part in matches Sept. 29 and Oct. 1, respectively. The Blue Hose edged VMI last season in Clinton, S.C., but the Keydets have won their last three matches against the Bulldogs, including a 3-2 win last year.
The first road trip of Big South action will send the Keydets to South Carolina, as the team faces Charleston Southern and Coastal Carolina, two teams expected to be near the top of the conference, on Oct. 6 and 8.
One of VMI’s primary rivals, Winthrop, comes to Lexington on Oct. 13. After the Keydets earned four straight wins over the Lady Eagles from 2007-2009, including VMI’s first postseason win ever in 2008, Winthrop has knocked the Keydets out of the conference tournament each of the last two years. The Winthrop homestand concludes with Gardner-Webb on Oct. 15.
The final two-game road trip of the year will feature another rivalry game, as VMI heads just an hour east over the Blue Ridge Mountains to take on Liberty. The Keydets have won three straight over the Lady Flames, a streak that started in 2008, when VMI beat Liberty for its first Division I in-state win in program history. That road trip concludes with a trip to the two-time defending Big South Champions, High Point, for an Oct. 22 contest.
Senior day will be Tuesday, Oct. 25, as Radford comes to Patchin Field, while the regular season concludes with the Keydets facing the Big South’s newest team, Campbell in Buies Creek, N.C. on Oct. 27.
The Big South Championships will be held Nov. 3-6 at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C.