BOSTON, Mass.—After putting together their best season in program history, #16/17 UMass Boston men's soccer is set to face one of their most challenging schedules in program history this fall.
The Beacons will take on three teams that played in the 2016 NCAA Division III Tournament and six of their nine non-conference opponents finished above .500 in 2016.
UMass Boston will start the season in Virginia on Saturday, September 2 at 5 p.m., when they take part in the Shellenberger Classic. The Beacons will open with host Roanoke College, who finished 2016 with a 9-5-5 record. Roanoke has a history of national success, including finishing in the top-25 eight times.
Things will get tougher from there, as the Beacons make the trip east to take on #17/19 Lynchburg College the following day at 11 a.m. The Hornets went 17-2-4 in 2016 and made it to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament, before falling 2-1 in overtime to Kenyon College. Lynchburg has enjoyed a historic stretch of success under head coach Chris Yeager, including finishing as the 2010 NCAA Tournament Runner-Up.
UMass Boston will return home after their game against Lynchburg to prepare for their home opener. In their first non-conference home game since 2014, UMass Boston will host Colby-Sawyer College on Friday September 8 at 7 p.m. The Beacons defeated the Chargers 1-0 last year in New Hampshire.
Three days later, UMass Boston will make the short trip across town to take on Wentworth Institute of Technology at 7 p.m.
UMass Boston will open Little East Conference play on Saturday September 16 at 4 p.m. when they host Keene State College. The conference contest is a rematch of the 2014 LEC Tournament Title Game, which the Beacons won 2-1 in overtime.
Head coach Jake Beverlin's squad will take on their second NCAA Tournament squad of the month on Wednesday, September 20. The Beacons will travel to take on Worcester State University, who won the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Title.
After back-to-back home matchups with Plymouth State (September 23) and Bridgewater State University (September 26), UMass Boston will travel to rival Rhode Island College on Saturday, September 30. The Beacons and Anchormen have played in each of the past two LEC Tournament Title Games, with UMass Boston earning back-to-back 2-1 victories.
Turning the calendar to October, four of UMass Boston's eight games will be against conference foes, including their Senior Day game against Eastern Connecticut State University (Saturday October 21).
UMass Boston does have several key non-conference matchups in October as well. The Beacons will travel to #21 Springfield College on Tuesday, October 10 for the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The Pride are coming off of a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament Title and an 18-2-1 overall record.
The Beacons will also have intriguing "Boston" matchups against Emmanuel College and MIT. October 16's matchup against Emmanuel will be the first meeting between Beverlin and former assistant coach Dan Roberts, who is in his second season as head coach at Emmanuel. Two days later, UMass Boston will travel to take on an MIT squad that reached the NCAA Sweet 16 as recently as 2015.
UMass Boston will wrap up the regular season on October 28, when they travel to take on Western Connecticut State University in a conference matchup.
All told, UMass Boston will face three teams for the first time in 2017 (Roanoke, Lynchburg, Springfield). The Beacons have an NCAA Tournament connection to two of those three teams-through National Champion Tufts University. Springfield lost to Tufts in the NCAA First Round and Lynchburg fell to Kenyon, who lost to Tufts in the NCAA Quarterfinals. UMass Boston's 2016 season came to a close at the hands of Tufts as well, as the Beacons fell 1-0 in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
UMass Boston finished the 2016 season with a program record best 18-2-3 record. The Beacons were ranked as high as fourth in the nation and won the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament game during the course of last year.