MANCHESTER, N.H. – Second-year head coach Joel Bancroft and the Saint Anselm College women's soccer program announced the team's 16-game schedule for the upcoming 2018 season on Wednesday, highlighted by a two-game, season-opening trip to North Carolina.
Saint Anselm will play seven of its 16 games at Melucci Field in the fall, including five home matches against teams that made the Northeast-10 Conference Women's Soccer Championship last season. The Hawks will begin the season with a two-game trip to North Carolina to face Catawba and Belmont Abbey prior to beginning their 14-game NE10 slate.
"We are excited to start our 2018 campaign with a trip down south for two tough out-of-region matches prior to stepping into our always-challenging NE10 Conference schedule," Bancroft said.
In its season opener, Saint Anselm meets Catawba for the second time ever on Thursday, Aug. 30. The Hawks won the lone previous meeting in the series, 3-1, on Sept. 21, 1997. The Hawks conclude the trip to North Carolina by taking on first-time opponent Belmont Abbey, an 11-win team a year ago, two days later on Saturday, Sept. 1.
Six of Saint Anselm's first seven NE10 games come against teams that made the NE10 Tournament in 2017, beginning with the team's home opener against Pace at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8. The Hawks then host crosstown-rival and reigning NE10 Tournament champion Southern New Hampshire on Wednesday, Sept. 12 prior to a trip to last season's regular-season champion, Adelphi, on Saturday, Sept. 15.
Coach Bancroft's team finishes September with trips to Southern Connecticut State and Bentley on either side of a home game against in-state rival Franklin Pierce on Saturday, Sept. 22. Saint Anselm begins October by hosting Assumption on Tuesday, Oct. 2 before hitting the road to for lengthy trips to Le Moyne and Saint Michael's.
Three of Saint Anselm's final five games are at Melucci Field, including back-to-back home games against perennial NE10 contender Saint Rose on Saturday, Oct. 13 and Stonehill on Tuesday, Oct. 16. The regular season concludes with a home contest against New Haven sandwiched between away games at American International and Merrimack.
The Hawks finished 2017 with a 6-8-2 overall record in Bancroft's first season, with five of the team's six victories coming on their home field. After starting the season 1-6 in NE10 play, Saint Anselm lost just two of its final seven games to stay in contention for a postseason berth until the final day of the regular season.