Well, while we may be having an off-year in basketball, football, lacrosse, and most notably Women's Golf, there's one sport that we can count on to be elite on a yearly basis: Men's Soccer.
The 2012 Men's Soccer schedule was released today, and I thought I'd try to give it a little publicity. Behind basketball and the Miami football game, I definitely had the most enjoyment watching the soccer team at Ludwig this year. Simply put, it usually takes an incredible effort by the other team to beat us at home.
2012 will hopefully be similar. The recruiting class is great (as was detailed in an earlier FanPost, the team retains a lot of great players, and Sasho Cirovski remains one of the finest coaches in the business.
Here is the link to the soccer schedule for the 2012 season:
There is no doubt that this will be a challenging schedule as we face some of the best teams in Men's Soccer, just as we did last year. However, it certainly will provide a number of opportunities for the team to assert themselves as a top team in the nation, and fortunately many of the big games are played at home.
After a couple of exhibition matches, the season opens with Louisville coming to play at Ludwig. It is important to note that Louisville was the team that knocked Maryland out of the tournament last year, and I can only hope that the team will have a revenge win to set the tone for their season. Last year's team raced out to its best start in years, and hopefully this team will do the same. However, the road gets no easier when UCLA, which finished at #3 in the nation last year, comes to Ludwig just 5 years later. What an unbelievable schedule to start the season.
Some other notable home games: UMBC (who nearly upset us last year in the most exhilarating game of the season for the Terps--this game will hopefully be much easier at home), defending College Cup champions UNC (was at the top of the rankings last season, and Maryland played its best game to tie UNC in Chapel Hill while being a man down for most of the game), Virginia (upset Maryland in Charlottesville last year), Clemson (who also beat Maryland 2-1 last year).
Most of the games that feature the best teams or the teams that gave us trouble last year are at home. The only real challenges on the road are Boston College (who we destroyed at home last year in the first matchup but lost to in the ACC tournament) Duke, and Old Dominion (ranked at the end of the season)
So there you have it. I just thought I'd break down the schedule a little bit for people who know nothing about the college soccer landscape. There are a few interesting stretches for the team such as the tough beginning to the season that will truly test the makeup of this team, but the real test will see how they hold up over the course of the season. The Terps looked like the top team in the country for most of last year, but the injuries that piled up near the tail end of the year and headscratching performances in the ACC and NCAA tournaments robbed the Terps of a team that deserved at least a Final 4 run. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that the boys will be ready to go this year. Ludwig better be rockin'.