FAYETTEVILLE – The schedule for first-year head coach Colby Hale and his Arkansas soccer team is set, and the Razorbacks have an entertaining slate with 11 games set for Razorback Field.
In addition to new Southeastern Conference contests with first-year league members Texas A&M and Missouri, the non-conference portion of the schedule includes home games against Texas and Florida State.
Hale, who is in his first year after a highly-successful nine-year run at Central Florida, and the Razorbacks open the season with three straight home games against Austin Peay on Aug. 17, Texas Aug. 19 and Missouri State Aug. 22. Following an Aug. 26 tilt at SMU, Arkansas is back home to close the non-conference schedule against Kennesaw State on Sept. 2 and Florida State on Sept. 9.
"It’s a very good non-conference schedule," he says. "Austin Peay had a great year last year. They can score goals in bunches and have a player up front that will certainly test any backline. An early home date against Texas will be great for the fans. Texas is certainly one of the most talented teams in the country. We then play a midweek game against Missouri State, which is very good. They are well-coached and have some really nice players. Then we have our first regular season away trip against perennial power SMU. This will be a great road test early in the season. Kennesaw State will come to Fayetteville as one of the top teams from Georgia and we finish the non-conference portion of the schedule with FSU, which has been to four of the last five College Cups."
Hale, who as associate head coach helped guide UCF to 130 wins and seven NCAA Tournament bids, opens SEC play on the road at Ole Miss on Sept. 14 and at Georgia on Sept. 16.
The league home opener is Sept. 21 against Kentucky followed by South Carolina at Razorback Field on Sept. 23. Arkansas is at Tennessee on Sept. 28 and Florida on Sept. 30 before coming home for four straight against Vanderbilt Oct. 5, Alabama Oct. 7, Texas A&M Oct. 12 and Auburn Oct. 14.
The Razorbacks close the regular season Oct. 19 at Missouri, Oct. 21 at Mississippi State and Oct. 25 at LSU.
The SEC Tournament is Oct. 31-Nov. 4 in Orange Beach, Ala.
"Overall, we need to find a good balance between finding confidence and preparing for a very strong SEC," Hale says. "I think this schedule does that. The SEC sent nine teams (including Texas A&M) to the NCAA Tournament. We have a hard-working, blue collar-type of team, and we’re looking forward to each of the different challenges we’ll face."
2012 Arkansas Razorback Soccer Schedule
Baton Rouge, La.
Oct. 31-Nov. 4
Orange Beach, Ala.
All times Central and subject to change*SEC gamesHome games in bold