5 must-see games for Univeristy of Cincinnati soccer
Cincinnati, as a city, has bought into the hype of the second division hometown team, FC Cincinnati. With an average attendance of almost 20,000, soccer is on the brink of becoming a major sport in the Queen City. The next place the soccer excitement needs to come to is the collegiate level.
The University of Cincinnati, the largest Division 1 school in the tri-state region, is about to start preparing for their preseason, and then into the regular season. The men's and women's team, both led by seasoned Head Coach Neil Stafford, play in the AAC, American Atheltic Conference.
Both teams finished fifth in the AAC, a conference of eight men's teams and ten women's teams. With that said, this season should be different, and for the casual fan, here are the five games you should mark on your calendar.
5) October 7- Men's Soccer: University of Cincinnati vs University of Connecticut
UConn, who finished third in the AAC last season, will be traveling to Cincinnati for UC's second AAC matchup. The inner-conference games will be huge for Stafford and his group. The returning players should have a chip on their shoulder after an embarrassment in 2016. UC lost 0-5 last season, and they should come out with vengeance this for this game. Be there.
4) October 21 - Men's Soccer: University of Cincinnati vs SMU
Against Connecticut, walking away with a tie might be fine, but this game is a must-win. While senior night is unknown (or at least not on the schedule), this could also be a big night for the seniors as there is only one other home game following this one. SMU beat UC last season, so again, the returning players should excel as they known what to expect.
3) October 6- Women's Soccer: University of Cincinnati vs Morehead State University
Senior night. That is generally why this will be a huge game. It is not in-conference, but it should be a special night for those involved.
2) September 8- Men's Soccer: University of Cincinnati vs Xavier Unversity
Travel about 15 minutes up the road and you'll get from UC to Xavier. The rivalry that is much more well-known for its marquee basketball matchups should bring the heat in soccer this fall. Xavier beat UC 4-2 last season. The Bearcats rivals, that play in the Big East, will be coming to Gettler Stadium. This game should be a thriller. You won't want to miss it.
1) September 7- Women's Soccer: University of Cincinnati at Northern Kentucky University
The only UC women's soccer game to be played in Nippert in 2016? This riverboat rivalry. The game draws one of UC's bigger crowds, and the fans should travel well as the game is in Highland Heights, just about 15 minutes away from UC. UC left last year's game with one of its 11 victories.
According to Cincinnati Soccer Talk, here is what UC HC Neil Stafford said about the game prior to last season's meeting:
"I think it's a great opportunity for local kids especially," said Stafford. "We both have local kids in our programs and this is a great way to highlight them and their careers and give them the limelight here in Nippert. With the buzz of FC Cincinnati, we think this is going to be a big occasion for both programs."
The buzz about FCC is even greater this season, and hopefully, the buzz picks up for UC's soccer program.
Mark these games, Bailey Banter will be there, and they won't disappoint.