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BATON ROUGE – As summer school opens and members of the LSU soccer program return to campus to continue their preparation for the 2011 fall season, the Tigers were informed on Friday of the 20 teams they will take on in the fall as they compete for an SEC title and a return trip to the NCAA Tournament.


The Tigers will battle the likes of five programs that earned a berth into the 2011 NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament last fall. The team is set to square off against nine non-conference opponents before going up against a challenging 11-game league slate that will determine the Southeastern Conference champion.


LSU wrapped up a 2010 campaign last fall with an 8-8-5 overall record and 4-4-3 mark in SEC play prior to advancing to the SEC Tournament semifinal for the fourth-straight season.


“We’ve put together a schedule this year that will not only prepare our team for SEC and postseason play, but we feel like it’s a schedule that our fans are really going to enjoy as well,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity to compete in our newly-renovated stadium this year, and we know our fans are going to turn out in big numbers to support this program like they always have.”


Highlighting LSU’s non-conference slate is a road match against the Memphis Tigers in its season opener on Friday, Aug. 19, as the sides collide at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex.


Memphis is a perennial NCAA Tournament participant as it is fresh off a 2010 season in which it claimed a fourth-straight Conference USA Tournament championship after earning a runner-up team finish for the final CUSA team standings. Memphis was eliminated from the postseason by Oregon State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament while posting a 15-4-3 mark for the season.


The Tigers will actually play its first four non-conference games of the season on the road when they head to Lafayette on Aug. 21 to face in-state rival Louisiana-Lafayette, Raleigh, N.C., on Aug. 29 to square off against NC State and Houston on Sept. 2 to take on Rice before returning home to Baton Rouge.


LSU fans are sure to enjoy a nine-game homestand that spans 28 days in the middle of the 2011 campaign which kicks off Sept. 5 against last year’s Southland Conference runner-up Stephen F. Austin.


The Tigers will actually christen the newly-renovated LSU Soccer Complex against Stephen F. Austin, as the match is set for a Labor Day kickoff at 6 p.m. CDT.


LSU then welcome the Oregon Ducks (Sept. 9), Houston Cougars (Sept. 11) and McNeese State Cowgirls (Sept. 16) to Baton Rouge before wrapping up its non-conference schedule on Sept. 19 at the LSU Soccer Complex against 2010 NCAA Tournament qualifier Oklahoma. After finishing as the Big 12 Tournament runners-up, the Sooners advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament.


The 2011 SEC schedule opens with a weekend derby against Mississippi rivals as the Tigers welcome the Ole Miss Rebels (Sept. 23) and Mississippi State Bulldogs (Sept. 25) to Baton Rouge. They then conclude their nine-game homestand with matches against Tennessee on Sept. 30 and Georgia on Oct. 2.


The Tigers will wrap up their home schedule Oct. 20 with perhaps their most anticipated home match this fall against perennial NCAA Tournament veteran and SEC championship contender South Carolina.


The Gamecocks came up just short in their bid to win the SEC team title in 2010 after wrapping up league runner-up honors with an 8-2-1 conference record. After falling to Florida in the SEC Tournament final, South Carolina then advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where it fell to Virginia. At the end of the 2010 season, the Gamecocks finished with a 15-6-4 overall record while receiving a No. 24 national ranking in the final Top 25 poll release by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.


The Tigers will face their toughest road test of the 2011 season when they travel to Gainesville, Fla., for a match against the five-time defending SEC champion Florida Gators on Oct. 23. Florida posted an overall record of 19-2-3 a season ago en route to a berth into the NCAA Second Round.


Other SEC road matches include Vanderbilt (Oct. 7), Kentucky (Oct. 9), Auburn (Oct. 14), Alabama (Oct. 16) and Arkansas (Oct. 28) in LSU’s regular season finale before postseason play.


LSU’s first order of business during SEC play will be earning a favorable seed in the 2011 SEC Women’s Soccer Tournament to be held Nov. 2-6 at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala.


The Tigers are one of just two SEC programs to advance to the semifinal round of the SEC Tournament at each of the last four events following its performance in its 2010 season finale. This is the seventh straight season in which Orange Beach will play host to the SEC Tournament, as LSU competes for a first tourney title in program history. The Tigers appeared in their first SEC Tournament final during the 2009 season.




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