Immediate Release: June 29, 2005
VESTAL, N.Y. - For the first time in its Division I tenure, the Binghamton University women's soccer team will enter a season as the reigning conference champion. Head coach Jeff Leightman's program, which went 14-6-1 and carried the America East banner into the 2004 NCAA tournament, will open its 2005 season on August 26 at Iona.
The department released the full 2005 women's soccer schedule, which will send the Bearcats on the road for two-thirds of their regular-season games (12 of 18). In 2004, BU went 8-2 at home and 6-4-1 on the road. The home slate features a first-ever matchup with fellow 2004 NCAA tournament team and Ivy League champion Harvard on September 3.
Other schedule highlights include a tough test against Big East member Syracuse (September 1) on the road, two games at the Youngstown State Penguin Classic (Sept. 9 & 11) and an away game at defending Northeast Conference regular-season champion Fairleigh Dickinson on September 16.
"Overall, it will be a challenging schedule," Leightman said. "Obviously being on the road as much as we will be is tough for any program. But I'm excited about some of the elite teams we have on the schedule. Perennial region powers Syracuse and Harvard should be good early tests to see where we are, and Lehigh will be a great match to help prepare us to defend the conference title."
The team's 10-game non-conference slate also includes a date with Patriot League runner-up Lehigh (Sept. 23) and a home game against an LIU team that was ECAC runner-up last fall.
The Bearcats will then begin defense of their conference crown on September 25 as Vermont comes to town. With the departure of Northeastern, the 2005 America East schedule will consist of eight games - four at home and four on the road. The conference tournament begins on October 28 with quarterfinal games.
"I think the conference will be a real tossup this year," Leightman said. "Every team looks like they got better and everybody will be gunning for us this time. We've got to do our part to hopefully end this year as we ended last year."
Leightman, the 2004 America East Coach of the Year, returns seven starters and 18 letterwinners from his championship squad.
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