Tyrel Jones, ECU sports information
East Central University
The East Central University soccer team opens up the 2014 schedule at the Great American Conference/Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association Challenge in Searcy, Ark., set to start at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5. The Lady Tigers will play Emporia State in the opening match of the challenge.
ECU will play two days later (Sept. 7) against Missouri Western State at 1 p.m., the second and final game for the Lady Tigers in the GAC/MIAA Challenge.
Head coach Riley Bailey is optimistic about ECU's opening matches this season.
"I would rather open on the road. It gives the team a chance to bond and enjoy a road trip to start the season," said Bailey.
The Lady Tigers will open their home schedule with a match against Newman Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. at Lady Tiger Field.
"We've got a great core of returners with some solid leadership from our senior group," added Bailey. "I like what we have coming in, and I think they will complement the returners nicely."
ECU plays Oklahoma Baptist (Sept. 12) and Lubbock Christian (Sept. 21) as part of the Tigers' home non-conference schedule.
The conference season gets under way with five straight road matches for ECU against Northwestern Oklahoma State (Sept. 25), Southwestern Oklahoma State (Sept. 27), Southern Nazarene (Oct. 3), Harding (Oct. 9) and Ouachita Baptist (Oct. 11).
"It's always a challenge playing so many road games in a row," Bailey commented. "But if we can get a few points from those opening conference games, then we'll set ourselves up nicely for the span of home games at the end of our schedule."
Last season, the Lady Tigers played five continuous home conference games, followed by five straight road games. This year, the schedule flips for ECU as the Lady Tigers finish their regular season with five consecutive home games starting with Northwestern Oklahoma State (Oct. 16), Southwestern Oklahoma State (Oct. 18), Southern Nazarene (Oct. 24), Harding (Oct. 30) and Ouachita Baptist (Nov. 1).