SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara men's soccer announced its 2017 schedule on Tuesday afternoon. Head coach Cameron Rast and his squad are set to play eight games at home in the friendly confines of Stevens Stadium.
The Broncos will play two road exhibition matches to prepare for the season, both on the road. They will face Sacramento State on Aug. 17 and San Jose State on Aug. 20.
The season-opening match will take place on Aug. 25 at 7:30 p.m. against the Maryland Terrapins who finished the 2016 regular season ranked No. 1 in the country per the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and ended the year at No. 7. The Broncos then face West Virginia on Sunday, Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m. to wrap up the first weekend of the season.
"When we put the schedule together, one of our priorities was to make sure the challenge was right for the guys," Rast said. "We are going to get a test that first weekend against an outstanding Maryland team that can contend for the NCAA Championship. That will be a great test for us to see where we are."
The Broncos face Cal State Fullerton on Sept. 1 for their first road nonconference match. The squad then returns home to face Tulsa (Sept. 7) and SMU (Sept. 9), two teams they played on the road in 2016.
"We have other perennial powers that come to play at Stevens Stadium," Rast said. "Whether it's SMU, Tulsa, or West Virginia. I think there are just a lot of good teams that will present some good tests for our guys."
SCU will play four straight road non-conference matches to end September and take the team into league play. The squad will play at Seattle (Sept. 14) and Washington (Sept. 17), then return to the Bay Area for a match at Cal (Sept. 22) before heading to play at Indiana (Sept. 30).
West Coast Conference play starts on Oct. 8 at home where SCU faces San Francisco. The Broncos play two additional league matches at home before heading to San Diego State for its final nonconference fixture of the season.
"In the end, there are two ways into the NCAA Tournament," Rast said. "You either win your conference and get an automatic bid or you play a schedule that merits consideration for its difficulty. We have made sure that we have checked both of those boxes."
The regular-season finale against San Diego will take place on Nov. 11 at Stevens Stadium and is set for a 7 p.m. start.