Women’s soccer releases 2011 schedule
To improve on last year’s appearance in the conference championship game, the JU women’s soccer team will try to succeed against a slew of challenging opponents as the Dolphins released its 2011 schedule on Wednesday.

JU will oppose three teams (UCF, USF and Mercer) that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last year as part of an 18-game regular season fixture. The Dolphins posted a 13-5-2 overall record last season and an 8-1-1 conference mark.

The Dolphins reached the A-Sun semifinals in 2009 and the title game last season before falling, 1-0, to Mercer, last year. In the upcoming campaign, JU will host seven games, all of which will come at the Ashley Sports Complex.

The first nine games of the schedule will come against talented non-league foes from conferences such as the Big East, Conference USA, the Atlantic 10, the Colonial Athletic Association and the Southern Conference. Those nine schools finished 100-65-20 last year.

“We hope by playing a demanding schedule we will be better prepared when the conference portion of the schedule begins,” said JU coach Brian Copham, who was named the A-Sun “Coach of the Year.” “We will have a great mix of returning talent and newcomers and look forward to the challenges of this year’s schedule.”

The Dolphins will stay in Jacksonville to start the campaign with contests against Coastal Carolina and UNC Charlotte in the UNF Tournament. The season opener against the Chanticleers is set for Aug. 19 before JU faces a 49ers squad that won the A-10 regular season championship and boasts four A-10 titles in the last five years on Aug. 21.

JU will then make its longest road trip of the year when it travels to the Centennial State to face Northern Colorado and Colorado College. After four games on the road, the Dolphins will open the schedule’s home portion with two games in three days starting against Furman on Sept. 2 and Georgia State two days later.

Copham’s squad will then hit the road for the next five games, though all matches will take place in Florida. The Dolphins will face Florida Atlantic (Sept. 9) and the University of South Florida (Sept. 11) in the USF Tournament in Tampa.

A tough task awaits JU in its last non-league tune-up at UCF on Sept. 16. The Knights won 15 games last year en route to making the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

JU will commence the nine-game A-Sun schedule with a road contest at Stetson on Sept. 23 before playing FGCU two days later. The Eagles went 11-4-2 last year while surrendering just nine goals.

The Dolphins will end a three-week stretch away from home with a pair of home games against Kennesaw State (Sept. 30) and a re-match against reigning league champion Mercer (Oct. 2) at Ashley.

A road trip to USC Upstate (Oct. 7) and ETSU (Oct. 9) will follow before the Dolphins return home to end the regular season with matches against Belmont (Oct. 16)and the finale against cross-town rival UNF on Oct. 21.