The 2017 college soccer season kicks off on Friday, and while some teams prefer to start their seasons off with easy openers, several of the nation’s top teams are jumping right into tough challenges.
Providence College is one of those teams. The SBI No. 14 Friars are wasting no time diving into the deep end of competition, opening the season with matches against No. 2 North Carolina and No. 5 Wake Forest. Julian Gressel’s departure won’t be easy to account for, but Mac Steeves is back from injury and is primed for a big season.
SBI No. 16 Creighton kicks off its campaign at home against No. 12 Virginia Tech. The Blue Jays are led by forward Ricky Lopez-Espin, who will try to open his scoring account against one of the best goalkeepers in the nation in Hokies senior Ben Lundgaard.
Jamie Franks saw several key players graduate and go pro last season, but his Denver Pioneers aren’t taking things slow either, opening their season at home against a dangerous Florida Gulf Coast side. Forward Albert Ruiz led the nation in goals with 22 last season, but he’ll go up against a Denver squad known for its stingy defense.
Here is a rundown if this weekend’s top matches:
San Jose State vs. (1) Stanford, 8 p.m.
(2) North Carolina vs. (14) Providence, 7:30 p.m.
Santa Clara vs. (3) Maryland, 10:30 p.m.
(4) Indiana vs. Cal Poly, 5 p.m.
(5) Wake Forest vs. Rutgers, 7:30 p.m.
(6) Notre Dame vs. San Diego, 7:30 p.m.
(7) Virginia vs. Villanova, 7 p.m.
(8) Louisville vs. UC-Irvine, 7:30 p.m.
(9) Clemson vs. Cal-State Fullerton, 5 p.m.
Saint Louis vs. (10) Syracuse, 8:30 p.m.
(11) Denver vs. (20) Florida Gulf Coast, 9:30 p.m.
(16) Creighton vs. (12) Virginia Tech, 8 p.m.
Tulsa vs. (13) Wisconsin, 8 p.m.
(15) Portland vs. UNLV, 10 p.m.
(17) Washington vs. New Mexico, 11 p.m.
(18) UConn vs. Iona, 7 p.m.
(19) Michigan vs. William & Mary, 7 p.m.
(24) Utah Valley vs. (21) Akron, 9 p.m.
George Mason vs. (22) Coastal Carolina, 7 p.m.
Army vs. (25) San Diego State, 7:30 p.m.
San Francisco vs. (23) UCLA, 10 p.m.
(2) North Carolina vs. Rutgers, 7:30 p.m.
(4) Indiana vs. San Diego, 11:30 a.m.
(5) Wake Forest vs. (14) Providence, 7 p.m.
(6) Notre Dame vs. Cal Poly, 2 p.m.
(9) Clemson vs. Radford, 6 p.m.
SIU-Edwardsville vs. (10) Syracuse, 7 p.m.
Omaha vs. (12) Virginia Tech, 7 p.m.
(13) Wisconsin vs. Oral Roberts, 7 p.m.
(15) Portland vs. Fairfield, 8 p.m.
(16) Creighton vs. Grand Canyon, 7 p.m.
(17) Washington vs. Loyola Marymount, 6:30 p.m.
Air Force vs. (20) Florida Gulf Coast, 1:30 p.m.
Vermont vs. (25) San Diego State, 12 p.m.