DOVER, Del. – Delaware State University has announced its 2012 women's soccer schedule as the Hornets embark on their 11th season in school history, the second consecutive year at Alumni Stadium, and its first season under Coach Hulem.
Interim head coach Peter Hulem said DSU will open the season with three exhibition contests including a trip to Vermont on Aug. 14, Mary Washington on Aug. 23, and an exhibition in Wilmington on Friday, Aug. 17.
"Our first three exhibitions are a good selection of games as each team varies in strength," Hulem said. "Vermont will be one of our tougher challenges as it will be our first full game as a team and it will give the freshman a chance to play right off the bat."
Regular season begins when DSU hosts Manhattan on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 3 p.m. before traveling to Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday, Aug. 31. The Hornets are scheduled for 15 regular season contests, including nine at home, facing four teams (FDU, Bryant, Holy Cross, and Harcum) for the first time in regular season school history.
"With three games leading into the Manhattan match, I think the ladies will be well prepared and prepped to start the season on a high note at home," Hulem said. "Manhattan and FDU will put up a good fight, but I feel confident that with a solid preseason, we can start the year with a strong record."
DSU returns to Alumni Stadium to what may be their most difficult home contests of the year Sept. 2 against Radford and Route 1 Rival Delaware on Sunday, Sept. 9.
The Highlanders finished the 2011 campaign with their third Big South Regular Season Championship, their fourth Big South Tournament Championship, and the fifth NCAA Tournament Appearance in school history following 15-6-1 (.705) overall and 8-2-0 (.800) conference records. The Hornets have not matched up with Radford since the 2003 season and are 0-2-0 overall against the Highlanders.
The Blue Hens finished 2011 with a 10-7-4 overall record and were 5-3-3 in the CAA. Del State looks for their first victory in school history over UD and last season's 2-0 loss shows the Blue Hens that the Hornets are raising the bar of their play.
"Our girls know what to expect when we play Delaware, especially the returners," said Hulem. "I think we surprised them last year and I'm expecting a tough, competitive game in front of Hornet fans."
DSU then travels north to Smithfield, R.I. to face Bryant Fri., Sept. 14 and Worchester, Mass. Sun., Sept. 16 to take on Holy Cross as they continue non-conference play before returning home for a season-long four-game stretch as they host Rider (Sept. 21), Mount St. Mary's (Sept. 23), Goldey-Beacom (Sept. 27), and Harcum (Oct. 6) to wrap up non-conference play.
The Great West Conference slate begins Thursday, Oct. 11 as Del State takes on NJIT in Newark, N.J. The Highlanders finished the 2011 campaign with a 2-17-0 overall and 1-5-0 conference record to place last in the GWC. Their lone win came against the Hornets Oct. 7 in a 2-0 victory in Newark.
DSU hosts just two GWC contests this season in South Carolina State (Oct. 18) and Howard (Oct. 21). The two squads finished third and fourth, respectively, in the conference last season. Sun., Oct. 21 will also serve as senior day for the quartet of Kelsey Gibson (Elizabethtown, N.Y.), Jeanette Salgado (Bergenfield, N.J.), Theresa Wappett (Queensbury, N.Y.), and Candace Wyre (Smyrna, Del.).
The Hornets wrap up the regular season with a long-distance trip to Houston Baptist Oct. 27 and Utah Valley Oct. 29. UVU won the 2011 GWC title and finished the season with an 11-8-1 overall and 5-1-0 conference record while HBU finished second with an 11-8-1 overall and 4-1-1 conference record. DSU captured their first GWC victory in school history as they handed the Wolverines their lone conference loss of the season Oct. 20 in Dover.
"We defeated Utah Valley last year, so they'll be ready for us and are aware of what we can do," Hulem said. "Both games will be battles, but as we have grown over the past few years, they are teams that we can compete with and beat."
Del. State will continue their trip to Orem, Utah as UVU hosts the 2012 Great West Conference Tournament Nov. 2-5 at Clyde Field.