ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Eckerd College women’s soccer coach Danielle Fotopoulos has announced her team’s 2015 schedule, which features 10 regular-season home contests.
The Tritons open the fall with their traditional alumni game on Saturday, August 22, at 3:00 PM. An exhibition contest will follow against Flagler (Fla.) College at 5:00 PM. They wrap up the pre-season with a visit to provisional Sunshine State Conference member Embry-Riddle (Fla.) on August 29, giving Fotopoulos and her team a chance to get an early look at one of the most recent additions to NCAA Division II. Last season, the Eagles advanced to the semifinals of the NAIA National Tournament in their final year as a member of the organization.
“Embry-Riddle has a very good program,” said Fotopoulos. “They will definitely add more depth to the conference and make it stronger. We’re excited to have them, and I’m looking forward to the chance to play them in the pre-season.”
The team will be busy in early September with four matches – all at home – in a span of 10 days. The regular season kicks off on Sept. 4 as Eckerd hosts Colorado Christian at 4:00 PM. The Tritons then follow with contests against Southeastern (Fla.) on Sept. 7, Palm Beach Atlantic on Sept. 10 and Webber International (Fla.) on Sept. 13 before heading into conference play.
As usual, the Sunshine State Conference schedule will be loaded with quality opponents including 2014 national runner-up Rollins (Fla.) and national tournament qualifiers Saint Leo (Fla.) and Barry (Fla.). The Tritons open conference play against Saint Leo at home on Sept. 16.
“Our conference is very good,” Fotopoulos said. “We always have at least three in the national tournament. At any time, anybody can beat anybody in our conference. It’s very competitive, and that’s why I love coaching in it.”
Eckerd will also host Embry-Riddle (Sept. 26), the University of Tampa (Oct. 14) and Nova Southeastern (Oct. 24) in conference play. The Tritons will face Florida Tech (Sept. 19), Florida Southern (Sept. 23), Rollins (Oct. 3), Barry (Oct. 7) and Lynn (Oct. 17) on the road.
Also joining the SSC this season as a provisional member is a familiar opponent in Palm Beach Atlantic (Fla.). Eckerd will face the Sailfish twice, first on Sept. 10 and again on Oct. 10 with both games at the Turley Athletic Complex. Both Embry-Riddle and Palm Beach Atlantic are in their second years of provisional membership and are on track to become full members in the 2017-18 seasons. Results of the matches with the schools will not count in the conference standings.
Florida Southern will also pay a visit to St. Petersburg on Oct. 21 for a non-conference contest. That match will serve as senior night for the program’s 13 seniors.
FSC and PBAU are part of a solid non-conference slate that Fotopoulos feels could put her team in good position for the postseason.
“Our non-conference games can really help us get into nationals,” she said. “As we’ve gotten better, we’ve tried to toughen that part of the schedule. If we can do well, it puts us in great position for the postseason.”
The conference tournament opens on Tuesday, Nov. 3, with the higher seeds hosting the quarterfinal round.