CLEVELAND, Ohio – A pair of matchups against top-five opponents, four fixtures against in-state, non-conference foes and nine total home matches highlight the 2019 Cleveland State University men's soccer slate released Tuesday.
"As we look to provide the best possible experience for our student athletes, we are extremely excited to announce our 2019 schedule," acting head coach Sinisa Ubiparipovic said. "We will continue the same approach former head coach Kirk Harwat had—to challenge ourselves against some of the best teams college soccer has to offer to continue building a successful program. We look forward to the fall season and continuous support of our fans."
The Vikings will play at least one Big Ten foe for the third year running and will face an Atlantic Coast Conference side for the fifth time in six seasons.
For the third straight season, Cleveland State will have a trio of exhibition matches to prepare for the regular season. The Vikings will face an outside foe for the first time Saturday, Aug. 17, when they head to St. Bonaventure. CSU will then host exhibitions against Notre Dame (Ohio) Thursday, Aug. 22, and Saint Francis (Pa.) Sunday, Aug. 25.
For the second straight season, Cleveland State will begin a campaign away from Krenzler Field. The Vikings will officially open the 2019 campaign Friday, Aug. 30, at Louisville. The Cardinals are the defending ACC Tournament champions and were the No. 4 overall seed in last year's NCAA Tournament. It will be the first meeting between the programs since 2013.
The Vikings will play their regular-season home opener Wednesday, Sept. 4, when they welcome familiar foe Robert Morris. CSU will be seeking its third straight win in the series between the programs with this being their fourth meeting in the past five years.
After nine days off from competition, Cleveland State will open Horizon League play Saturday, Sept. 14, at Oakland.
The Vikings will remain on the road three days later, but step out of conference play, as they take on Bowling Green Sept. 17. It will be the ninth consecutive season the Vikings and Falcons, the Mid-American Conference regular season runner-up last season, have met.
The first home league fixture will take place Sept. 21 against Northern Kentucky. That will be the first of three straight HL matches, as CSU will host Milwaukee Sept. 28 before traveling to Green Bay Oct. 5.
The match at Green Bay will be the first of three road matches in an eight-day span for the Vikings. CSU will also contest non-conference matchups at Cincinnati (Oct. 9) and at Ohio State (Oct. 12) as part of the trip.
Cleveland State will be facing the Bearcats for the eighth straight season while the Vikings will be looking for the a second straight win over the Buckeyes after claiming a 2-0 win in Columbus last season.
Three of the final four matches of October will take place at home, beginning Oct. 15 when the Vikings host Duquesne. It will be the fourth time in the last five seasons the sides have been slated to meet although last year's match was abandoned at halftime due to thunderstorms.
Horizon League matches at IUPUI (Oct. 19) and at home against defending regular-season champion Wright State (Oct. 26) will precede CSU's non-conference finale. The Vikings will host 2018 NCAA finalist Akron Tuesday, Oct. 29, the first time the Vikings have hosted the Zips since 2013.
Cleveland State will close the regular season with a pair of Horizon League matches. The Vikings will travel to defending tournament champion UIC Saturday, Nov. 2, before hosting Detroit Mercy in the finale Friday, Nov. 8.
The Vikings will face four of the top 40 in last season's final RPI, including two of the top five in Akron and Louisville.
Since the Horizon League went to a six-team tournament format, Cleveland State has earned a top-four tournament seed on seven occasions, the highest figure in the league. The Vikings have qualified for eight tournaments and reached the semifinals six times, both of which are tied for the highest such figures in this span.