KINGS POINT, N.Y. (July 14, 2016) – USMMA 27th-year head men's soccer coach Michael Smolens announced the schedule for the Mariners' upcoming 2016 season on Thursday. The 17-game slate begins the first weekend of September and the regular season lasts through late October.
The 2016 campaign marks the program's return to the Skyline Conference for the first time since 2006. The Mariners play 11 games against their Skyline opponents and six against tough non-conference opponents. Seven games will be played at home on Tomb Field at Brooks Stadium, while 10 games will take place away from Kings Point.
"It will be an adjustment joining the Skyline Conference, but I am confident that our players will work hard to be up to the task," commented Smolens. "Coach Fitzgerald, Coach Cochrane and I are looking forward to the season, and we believe our challenging non-conference schedule will help prepare us for a terrific year ahead."
The season kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 3, when Merchant Marine takes on Fredonia State on the first day of the Blue Jay Invitational, hosted by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. The next day, the Mariners square off against the host Blue Jays to close out the Invite.
The 2016 home-opener is slated for Wednesday, Sept. 7, against Rutgers-Newark. USMMA then hits the road once again, travelling up to New London, Conn. for its Superintendents' Trophy game against arch-rival Coast Guard on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Skyline Conference action begins on Thursday, Sept. 15, with the Mariners facing Yeshiva University in the final road game of the opening month.
Local rival SUNY Maritime pays a visit to Brooks Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 17, to start a four-game homestand for Merchant Marine. The game against the Privateers is part of Family Day at Kings Point. That's followed by a non-conference showdown against former Skyline rival and national powerhouse Stevens on Wednesday, Sept. 21.
On Saturday, Sept. 24, the Mariners host Skyline Conference foe St. Joseph's of Brooklyn on Homecoming Weekend. More information on the 2016 Homecoming festivities will be available early in the fall season. The homestand comes to an end on Wednesday, Sept. 28, when nearby Old Westbury comes to town for a conference battle.
Merchant Marine then begins a four-game road trip to start October, with three Skyline contests at St. Joseph's of Long Island (Oct. 1), Purchase (Oct. 4) and Sarah Lawrence (Oct. 8) before the last non-conference game of the season on Oct. 9 at reigning NJAC Conference Champs Rutgers-Camden.
On Wednesday, Oct. 12, the Mariners host Mount St. Vincent at home before hitting the road for the final two away games of the season at Farmingdale State on Oct. 15 and at 2015 Skyline Conference Champions Sage on Oct. 18. The last game of the regular season will be Senior Day, as USMMA welcomes in Mount St. Mary College on Saturday, Oct. 22.
The Skyline Tournament consists of six teams, with the top two seeds earning a bye to the semifinals. The first round "quarterfinals" will pit the #6 seed at the #3 seed and the #5 seed at the #4 seed on Saturday, Oct. 29. The semifinals will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 2 and the championship game is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5.
The winner of the Skyline Championship earns the conference's automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Tournament, which last the rest of November into early December.
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