Immediate Release: July 20, 2006
VESTAL, N.Y. - Binghamton University women's soccer will get a healthy dose of the Big East during its 2006 campaign. Ninth-year head coach Jeff Leightman has scheduled four of his nine non-conference games against Big East teams, highlighted by a September 3 date at No. 19 West Virginia.
The Bearcats, who went 10-6-4 last fall, will play a 17-game slate with eight home dates. The team will begin its schedule with the nine non-conference games before embarking on the eight-game America East portion, which Leightman hopes will conclude with a conference tournament berth.
"We're excited entering this year with a challenging schedule," Leightman said. "It presents us with the opportunity to prepare ourselves even better for our America East games. I believe that playing some of the top teams in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions will help cement our standing among the top echelon in the region."
Binghamton plays its first four games on the road, beginning with two games at the Navy Tournament on August 25 and 27. The Bearcats will face Georgetown in the season opener in Annapolis before taking on the host Midshipmen two days later. Georgetown won 12 games and reached the Big East quarterfinals and Navy won 10 games playing out of the Patriot League.
Things don't get much easier one week later when BU travels to Pittsburgh and Morgantown, W.Va. for back-to-back matches with Pitt and powerhouse West Virginia on September 1 and 3. The Mountaineers went 11-5-3, including a perfect 7-0 record at home, and capped their season with a sixth straight NCAA tournament appearance.
The home opener is September 6 against Syracuse - a 1-0 loser to BU last fall. The Bearcats will also have a tough test on September 17 against an LIU team that went 13-6-1 and was runnerup in the Northeast Conference.
The marquee matchups in America East play will be home dates with defending champion Boston University (October 8) and a rematch with 2005 runnerup Maine (October 15). The Terriers advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament last fall while the Black Bears ended Binghamton's season on penalty kicks in the America East semifinals.
"This year's run in the America East could be one of the most exciting in recent years," Leightman said. "There is a great deal of parity in the conference. Looking at it now I feel that six teams could have a legitimate chance of winning the championship and representing the America East in the NCAA College Cup."
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