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|ULM soccer announces 2009 schedule|
Featuring eight home matches including four against in-state rivals the ULM soccer team and head coach Stacy Lamb recently announced the schedule for the 2009 campaign.
"We are excited about the upcoming season," Lamb said. "We have a great signing class coming in and our returning players are anxious to build off of the good things we saw in the spring. We feel like we have put together a challenging, but competitive schedule that should provide us with a lot of opportunities to improve."
After playing an exhibition contest against Belhaven at the ULM Soccer Complex on Aug. 22, the Warhawks will open the regular season with three straight contests away from home. ULM opens the season on Aug. 28 at Northwestern State before facing Oral Roberts in the opening round of the Tulsa Invitational Tournament in Tulsa, Okla.
The Warhawks open the home portion of the regular season against long-time rival Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 13. The match between ULM and SLU will mark the first time the two programs have met on the pitch since the Warhawks claimed a 1-0 win in Hammond in the final Southland Conference bout between the two programs.
Following the match against the Lady Lions, ULM kicks off a stretch of four games in seven days when it travels to Conway, Ark., to face Central Arkansas on Sept. 16. The Warhawks will host McNeese State and Centenary College at home before closing the stretch on Sept. 22 at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
"We have put together a non-conference schedule that should challenge us from the start," Lamb said. "Playing in a rivalry atmosphere against quality in-state opponents like Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana, McNeese State, and Centenary can only help us prepare for the pressure of the conference season. Playing in a tournament against Tulsa and Oral Roberts will also help put us in those early pressure situations."
ULM will remain on the road to face tradition conference powers Denver and North Texas in the opening weekend of league play. The Warhawks open against the Pioneers on Sept. 25 before looking to make it two wins in a row against the Mean Green on Sept. 27.
The Warhawks will also face a conference weekend in the Sunshine State against Florida Atlantic and Florida International on Oct. 9 and 11, respectively. ULM's third league weekend away from home will be in Alabama when the Warhawks face South Alabama on Oct. 23 and Troy on Oct. 25.
The Warhawks welcome UALR and Arkansas State to Monroe starting on Oct. 2 for the program's annual Parents' Weekend. ULM will face Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky at home the weekend of Oct. 16-18.
ULM wraps up the regular season with its annual rivalry game against in-state foe Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 30. The Warhawks are scheduled to honor their three seniors in the final weekend of the regular season.
"The Sun Belt Conference is growing as a league and continues to improve every year," Lamb said. "It's a fight every weekend. With the players we have coming in and coming back, we feel we have the right pieces in place to compete for a spot in the league tournament. From there, it's anybody's game."
The Sun Belt Conference Tournament is slated to begin November 4 in Boca Raton, Fla. The top eight teams from the regular season advance to the championship and ULM will be looking to make its first field since the team joined the league for the 2006 campaign.