PHILADELPHIA – Saint Joseph's head coach Don D’Ambra has announced the Hawks’ 18-match, regular-season schedule for the 2019 men’s soccer season. With the inclusion of their two exhibition games, the Hawks will compete against members of the Colonial Athletic Association (3), Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (3), Northeast Conference (2), America East Conference (2), Patriot League, and Ivy League to prepare for the 2019 Atlantic 10 conference slate.
The Hawks have scheduled a trio of teams that played in the 2018 NCAA Tournament in non-conference opponents LIU Brooklyn and Princeton and conference foe Rhode Island.
"Our team is excited about the 2019 fall schedule, and we are eager to get started in preseason," said head coach Don D'Ambra, who will enter his 10th season at the helm of the SJU men's soccer program this upcoming fall. "Our team had a positive 2018 season, and we were very young. Hopefully, from this spring and throughout the summer break, all of our players will mature a bit more, which will translate to better results in some of those close games that we let slip away last year. I love this group of men and believe in them. It will take a lot of hard work to achieve the success we are looking for, but I feel they are ready."
In preseason exhibition action, Saint Joseph’s will head to Mount St. Mary's (2-10-4, 1-5-2 NEC in 2018) in Emmitsburg, Md. on Sunday, August 18 and will host Delaware (5-11-1, 4-3-1 CAA) on Friday, August 23.
The 2019 regular-season schedule features 11 home contests to be played on Sweeney Field, including the season opener against Saint Peter's on Friday, August 30 at 7:30 p.m. The start times for all 10 additional home matches are set for 7:00 p.m. The Hawks went 6-0-2 at home last fall to turn in the program's first undefeated home season since the 1970s.
The Hawks will open the season with four of their six regular-season matches under the Sweeney Field lights, beginning with back-to-back contests against Saint Peter's (8-9-2, 5-4-1 MAAC) on Friday, August 30 and Fairfield (11-5-2, 8-0-2 MAAC) the following Wednesday, September 4.
SJU hasn't dropped a match against either of those squads in program history. Saint Joseph's is 5-0 all-time against Saint Peter's as the Hawks posted a 4-0 record from 1973-92 before bringing home a 3-1 road win in the programs' first match-up in 27 years last fall. SJU is 1-0-1 against Fairfield as the teams drew, 2-2, in 1989 and the Hawks earned a 2-0 road victory last season.
The Hawks will then hit the road for their first true road test of the fall on Saturday, September 7 at LIU Brooklyn (13-6-1, 6-2-0 NEC, 2018 NEC Tournament champions, 2018 NCAA Tournament First Round). The Hawks are 1-1-1 all-time against the Blackbirds-turned-Sharks and last faced LIU Brooklyn in 2015, coming away with a 3-2, double-overtime victory at home.
The Hawks will then close out the bulk of their non-conference season against a trio of opponents in which the Crimson and Gray will look for its first ever wins. Saint Joseph's will return home to battle Stony Brook (9-6-3, 5-1-1 America East) the following Tuesday, September 10, will hit the road to face Marist (8-5-5, 6-2-2 MAAC) on Saturday, September 14, and will return home to host William and Mary (6-10-2, 3-3-2 CAA) on Tuesday, September 17. All-time, the Hawks are 0-2-0 against the Seawolves, 0-1-1 against the Red Foxes, and 0-2-0 against the Tribe.
D'Ambra and his Hawks open conference play at home against Duquesne (4-9-3, 2-4-2 A-10) on Saturday, September 21.
Saint Joseph's will then alternate between conference and non-conference competition over the next three-and-a-half weeks, hosting Lafayette (5-8-4, 1-5-3 Patriot League) on Tuesday, September 24, VCU (10-6-2, 6-1-1 A-10, 2018 A-10 semis) on Saturday, September 28, and Princeton (10-5-3, 5-1-1 Ivy League, 2018 NCAA First Round) on Tuesday, October 1 before hitting the road to face La Salle (3-11-3, 0-5-3 A-10) on Saturday, October 5, and Hartford (1-10-5, 1-5-1 America East) on Tuesday, October 8.
The Crimson and Gray will then return home to host a pair of matches against 2018 NCAA First Round participant and 2018 A-10 Tournament Champion Rhode Island (15-5-0, 5-3-0 A-10) on Saturday, October 12 and Drexel (9-5-3, 2-5-1 CAA) on Tuesday, October 15.
The Hawks will close out the regular season with four straight league matches, at Fordham (8-5-4, 4-3-1 A-10, 2018 A-10 quarters), at George Washington (5-9-3, 1-5-2 A-10), vs. Dayton for the regular-season home finale (9-6-4, 4-3-1 A-10, 2018 A-10 semis), and at UMass (7-8-3, 3-5-0 A-10, 2018 A-10 quarters).
For the third consecutive year, the eight-team A-10 Championship will see the opening rounds played on the campus of the higher seeds. With matches set for November 9 and 10, the four advancing teams will battle for the A-10 postseason title at Fordham University's Jack Coffey Field in the Bronx, N.Y. on November 15 (semifinals) and November 17 (title game). The A-10 tournament champion will earn the A-10’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Saint Joseph's will return nine starters, losing just a starting midfielder and defender to graduation, from last year's team that went 8-7-3 and 2-3-3 in the A-10 and came as close as a team could to qualifying for the 2018 A-10 postseason.