Looking to build off last season’s seventh place finish in Southland play, soccer coach Tom Brown has announced a challenging schedule for 2018.

The Kats will play a non-conference slate that includes matches against teams from the The American Athletic Conference, Mountain West, Sun Belt and West Coast Conference.

The Kats will open the regular season at home against Utah State on Aug. 16. Last season the Aggies finished 9-7-3 in Mountain West play. That match will be followed by a road contest at Louisiana-Lafayette (2017 5-10-2 overall, 2-6-2 Sun Belt) before returning home on Aug, 24, to face San Diego (8-11, 6-3 WCC).

“I think we have a good balanced non-conference schedule,” said head coach Tom Brown. “These will be some good games to help improve our team which returns nine starters from last season.  It will also allow us to test our new players and help get them prepared for the Southland Conference.”

The non-conference slate will also include a trip to Tulsa, Okla., to take on Oral Roberts (8-10-1, 5-2 Summit) on Sept. 2, followed by a match against Tulsa (3-12-4, 1-6-2 AAC) two days later.

The non-conference schedule will concluded with a short trip to Houston to take on the Cougars (7-9-1, 3-6 AAC) before wrapping it up on Sept 9 at home against Arkansas-Little Rock (9-9-3, 4-4-2 Sun Belt).

The Bearkats will have a difficult open to Southland Conference play, opening with three games on the road. They will begin league play at Central Arkansas on Sept. 14, followed by road trips to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Houston Baptist.

The Southland home opener will be Sept. 28 against defending conference champions Lamar, who went 10-1 last season to claim their first league title. That will be followed by home matches against McNeese State and Northwestern State. The regular season will conclude with a road trip to SFA on Oct. 26.

“The Southland Conference will be a tight race as usual,” Brown said. “Ten of our eleven games last year were one goal games. I feel like we have improved the team and that we can do better in our conference play.”

The Southland Conference Tournament will hosted by Lamar. The Kats will open the year with a pair of exhibition matches at UTSA (Aug.5) and Baylor (Aug. 10).