By AARON CRANFORD
Reigning national champions Notre Dame will have a tough Labor Day weekend to begin their campaign to defend their title.
The Fighting Irish, No. 6 in the SBI preseason Top 25, kick off defense of their title tonight against No. 10 Marquette. Then, on Sunday evening, Notre Dame plays No. 2 Georgetown. The Fighting Irish will not have an easy start, but with the help of nine returning starters, will look to be the first team to repeat as NCAA champions since Indiana won back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004.
SBI’s No. 1 team, UCLA, will also have a tough opening weekend. They will play No. 22 Wake Forest on Friday and No. 7 North Carolina on Sunday evening.
Another intriguing match will be No. 3 Maryland traveling to No. 12 Louisville on Friday (8 p.m. ESPN3), with Louisville opening the team’s new soccer stadium.
Here is a rundown of where all of the top teams will be playing on this opening Labor Day weekend:
THIS WEEKEND’S COLLEGE SOCCER SCHEDULE
2 p.m. – Howard vs. George Mason
4 p.m. – Michigan vs. Florida International
5 p.m. – Marquette vs. Notre Dame
5 p.m. – Michigan State vs. SMU
7 p.m. – UConn vs. Coastal Carolina
7 p.m. – North Carolina vs. California
7 p.m. – UMBC vs. Long Island
7 p.m. – VCU vs. Fairleigh Dickinson
7:30 p.m. – Wake Forest vs. UCLA
7:30 p.m. – College of Charleston vs. UCSB
8 p.m. – Indiana vs. Georgetown
8 p.m. – Louisville vs. Maryland
8 p.m. – Gonzaga vs. Washington
8 p.m. – Virginia vs. Old Dominion
8 p.m. – Creighton vs. Stanford
8 p.m. – Penn State vs. Oakland
9 p.m. – New Mexico vs. Akron
9 p.m. – Denver vs. CSU-Northridge
11:30 a.m. – Notre Dame vs. Georgetown
Noon- Michigan State vs. Florida International
Noon- Furman vs. UCSB
1 p.m. – UMBC vs. Sacred Heart
2 p.m. – Michigan vs. SMU
3 p.m. – Air Force vs. CSU-Northridge
3:30 p.m. – Indiana vs. Marquette
3:30 p.m. – VCU vs. East Tennessee State
5 p.m. – American vs. George Mason
7 p.m. – North Carolina vs. UCLA
7 p.m. – California vs. Wake Forest
7 p.m. – Penn State vs. St. John’s
8 p.m. – Nebraska-Omaha vs. Stanford
10 p.m. – UC-Irvine vs. Pacific
7 p.m. – Maryland vs. Coastal Carolina
7 p.m. – UConn vs. Stony Brook
Which matches are you most anticipating? Think Notre Dame can repeat? Will UCLA live up to their No. 1 billing?
Share your thoughts below.