Point Park Men's Soccer 2013 schedule released featuring 17 games
July 26, 2013 at 10:45 a.m. ET
Lucas Silva and the Pioneers begin the 2013 season Sept. 5 at Wheeling Jesuit. Photo by Olivia DiYanni.
PITTSBURGH -- The Point Park University men's soccer 2013 schedule has been released featuring 17 games for the Pioneers beginning Sept. 5 at Wheeling Jesuit.
The Pioneers, who were 11-7-0 overall and 4-0-0 KIAC last year, will report to campus Aug. 12 for preseason training, and they have two exhibition games scheduled Aug. 24 at Allegheny and Aug. 26 vs. Pitt-Greensburg.
Point Park's 17 games include 10 at home, seven on the road and four in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. the 13 non-conference games include three versus NAIA schools, four versus NCAA Division II schools and six versus NCAA Division III schools.
Overall, it is a tough test for Point Park and head coach Jeroen Walstra, who are the defending KIAC Tournament champions. Point Park made its first-ever trip to the NAIA national tournament last year.
"This year's schedule is tougher than the one we've had the two previous years," said Walstra. "This reflects the progress we've made with the program where we want to play more competitive teams to get better. The schedule includes Rio Grande, one of the best teams in the NAIA and strong NCAA Division II and Division III teams.
"As a result, we should expect a record that may be somewhat worse than years past. However, I believe it will prepare us better for the postseason and a possible entry into the national tournament."
The four KIAC games are scheduled favorably for the Pioneers with three at home and one on the road. The lone road game is at Cincinnati Christian, which means Point Park will make no trips to Kentucky in the regular season.
Point Park opens its KIAC schedule Oct. 4 at Cincinnati Christian and then plays its final three conference games at home versus Asbury (Ky.) Oct. 12, Brescia (Ky.) Oct. 19 and Berea Oct. 26. Each of those conference home games is on a Saturday.
"The KIAC is what matters the most," said Walstra. "We look forward to competing for the championship there. Certainly, Brescia and Asbury will field strong teams."
The month of September will be entirely non-conference for the Pioneers with a total of nine games played that month. Of the eight games in October, six of them are at home.
The highlight of the NAIA non-conference opponents is Sept. 29 at Rio Grande (Ohio), a perennial NAIA power that finished last year ranked No. 9 in the nation. Point Park will also see NAIA schools Northwestern Ohio (Sept. 14) and West Virginia Tech (Sept. 17).
Point Park's first three games will be versus NCAA Division II competition at Wheeling Jesuit Sept. 5 and home to Ohio Valley Sept. 7 and Salem International Sept. 10. The Pioneers also visit Division II Shippensburg Sept. 21.
NCAA Division III opponents are Houghton, at Westminster, Thiel, Wittenberg, at Washington & Jefferson and Grove City. Houghton is a former NAIA and AMC rival in its second year of its NCAA Division III transition.
"It will be an interesting season with many new players coming from Pennsylvania, Florida and several countries from all over the world," added Walstra. "Some have college playing experience and quite a few do not. But they are all very talented."
Point Park has 6 of 11 starters and 10 of 16 letter winners from last year returning this season. Coach Walstra is in his seventh year as men's soccer head coach and 11th year overall coaching soccer at the school.