HUNTSVILLE - The Sam Houston State soccer team will be looking to carry over a strong performance in spring practice when the Bearkats kick off the 2019 fall schedule.
SHSU opens with an exhibition match against the University of the Southwest at home on Aug. 14, then the Kats, who went 3-12-3 in 2018, will face foes from The American Athletic Conference, the West Coast Conference, Big 12, the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Sun Belt and Horizon League.
The regular season opens with Houston visiting Huntsville on Aug. 22. Last season, the Cougars went 7-10-2. The Bearkats will also host Gonzaga, which went 10-4-4 in 2018, on Aug. 24, before hitting the road for the first time to face TCU, which is coming off a 13-5-3 campaign, on Aug. 29.
Sam Houston State returns home for matches against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (3-9-2 in 2018) on Sept. 6 and Louisiana (3-12-3) on Sept. 8. The Bearkats wrap up nonconference action with a pair of road games at Illinois-Chicago (4-14-1) on Sept. 12 and Prairie View A&M (7-10-2) on Sept. 15.
“We tried to put together a nonconference schedule that offers different challenges for our team,” head coach Tom Brown said. “We will have a young team this season, and I wanted a schedule that will prepare them for a tough Southland Conference season.”
After opening Southland Conference play last season with three straight games on the road, the Bearkats get to stay home to begin league action in 2019. Sam Houston, which finished tied for 10th in the conference at 2-7-2 in 2018, will host defending SLC champion Central Arkansas on Sept. 20 and close out September with home games against Houston Baptist (Sept. 27) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Sept. 29).
The Kats will be heading east for three consecutive road games at McNeese (Oct. 4), Lamar (Oct. 6) and Northwestern State (Oct. 11). Sam Houston State returns to Huntsville for SLC tilts with Southeastern Louisiana (Oct. 18) and Nicholls (Oct. 20).
The final three games of the regular season feature road contests at Incarnate Word (Oct. 25) and Abilene Christian (Oct. 27) before the Bearkats close with a home match against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 1.
“The Southland Conference is always full of tough and competitive games,” Brown added. “Our team will be focused on changing our results from last season. The team made a lot of positive strides during the spring and I am looking forward to seeing how that plays out in conference play.”
Central Arkansas is hosting the 2019 Southland Conference Tournament in Conway Nov. 6-10.