Bryan Women Announce 2018 Soccer Schedule
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Bryan College, the reigning Appalachian Athletic Conference women’s soccer regular-season champions, revealed their lineup of 2018 contenders on Tuesday, which consists of 10 matches on their own pitch and eight on the road. In the past two seasons, the Lions have clawed their way from a last-place team in the AAC to both a conference powerhouse and competitor on the national stage. Following a pair of seasons where Bryan has seen numerous program bests, it will be first-year Head Coach Eric “Kwame” Appiah that will lead the Lions into the upcoming season while carrying momentum from the previous record-breaking year.
Despite being projected to finish 5th in 2017, the Lions set out to prove the league wrong, which is exactly what they did.
On Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, the program clinched its first-ever regular-season conference championship by defeating Point University (Ga.) and received an automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament, marking just the fourth national tournament appearance for the Lions in program history. Bryan ended the chapter on a monumental season when they went head-to-head with the No. 1 team in the country, Martin Methodist College (Tenn.). Even though the top-ranked RedHawks escaped with a 1-0 overtime victory, the Lions rose to the occasion and delivered on many levels. Their efforts resulted in the program’s winningest season in history, finishing 12-7 and 9-2 in conference play.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics recognized the talent the AAC holds with Tennessee Wesleyan University sitting in 11th of the final Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Top-25 poll and Bryan receiving votes, finishing just outside the top-25. It marked the first time since Sept. 21, 2010, that the Lions have received votes. The Preseason Coaches’ Top-25 Poll’s release date is slated for August 14.
Season-opening action will be at home on August 21 with kickoff set for 4:30pm against Mid-South Conference challenger Campbellsville University (Ky.). Bryan will follow that outing with another two non-conference matchups at home, with one on August 25 at 4:30pm versus Bethel University (Tenn.) and the other on August 28 at 4:30pm against Life University (Ga.).
Bryan’s first away test will be an opportunity to make a statement as 2017 Mid-South Conference regular-season champion Cumberland University (Tenn.), who also ranked 21st in the postseason top-25 poll, will play host to the Lions on August 31 at 2pm.
It’s not until September 8 at 5:30pm that Bryan will open AAC play, when Reinhardt University (Ga.) hosts the Lions on Ken White Field for a conference showdown. Bryan resumes conference action over a two-game stretch before visiting last year’s Mid-South Conference Tournament Champion Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.) on September 19 at 7pm for their final non-conference bout of the season. The Lions return home where they will face-off with first-year AAC member Columbia International University (S.C.) on September 22 at 4:30pm. The last eight contests of 2018 will be against fellow conference foes with five on the road and three at home. October play begins on the 2nd at 4:30pm where Bryan plays host to the Point Skyhawks. It’s not until late October that the Lions come back home and take on Milligan College (Tenn.) on the 20th and rival Tennessee Wesleyan on the 23rd with both starting at 4:30pm. The final regular-season session for the Lions will take place in Laurinburg, N.C., the home of the St. Andrews University Knights. The Knights and Lions will clash at 12pm on October 27.
“I am excited about the upcoming season and also having the team back on campus on August 7th,” stated Coach Appiah.
When asked about the layout of the schedule and the combination of both non-conference and AAC opponents, Coach Appiah explained, “We have a great schedule, and I’m particularly anticipating some real key matchups on our schedule, especially with the success we have had from the previous seasons. I know most of the teams will be coming after us, but our focus would be to continue to steer the team in the right direction while creating a positive student-athlete experience. I also look forward to learning more about these opponents, specifically the teams in the AAC. Overall, I am eager to see the girls compete and continue to build on our success from the previous seasons.”
The AAC Preseason Poll for women’s soccer is expected to be released mid-August.