By Tyler Byrum, Contributor
Already one team is well into the start of their 2017 season: the Women’s Soccer Team. Heading into this year, the team is hoping to build off of back-to-back Atlantic 10 Semi-Finals appearances.
Their goal is rather large too: a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Whether they get that bid by winning the Atlantic 10 championship or earning an at-large berth does not matter to head coach Todd Bramble. Entering his third year with the team, Bramble has already helped the program achieve their best season since 2009 with a 13-7-1 mark in 2016. Coming off the incredible performance, and the No. 4 seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament, the projection for this team continues to rise.
However, to achieve their goal there is a tough task ahead. During the off-season Bramble fabricated an intense and challenging non-conference schedule. On the docket for the team are four Power-5 programs, including Big Ten runner-up Rutgers on September 8. They will have to do this while losing four starters, and 10 overall rostered players, from last season.
The coaches pre-season poll had the team on pace to make the Atlantic 10 tournament for the third time in a row by placing the squad sixth of 14 teams. Last year’s tournament champion Dayton has been chosen to be the favorites for the year and regular-season champion, Saint Joseph’s, in third place. Keep in mind throughout the season, only the top eight programs qualify for the postseason.
Already though it has not been the start the team anticipated. A season-opening road loss to Old Dominion (4-1) and a home shut-out against Tennessee (1-0) has the team at a 0-2 hole to start the year. This week the team hosts Wake Forest on Friday, September 1 and Maryland on Sunday September 3. Both games are at George Mason Stadium with kick-off starting at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Note: The Women’s Soccer team’s match against Howard was not final as of publishing time. All statistics, notes, and records reference prior to the start of the game.