The reigning champion Bridgeport Purple Knights get their title defense rolling on Sept. 6 at the Southern New Hampshire Classic Tournament against Southern Connecticut State at 2 p.m. ET. Bridgeport brought home the first-ever NCAA DII title for any program with the thrilling 1-0 victory over DII women’s soccer powerhouse Grand Valley State.
Speaking of Grand Valley State, the Lakers won’t have an easy go early in the season. After opening against Rollins on Thursday, Sept. 5, the Lakers have four straight matches against preseason top 25 teams. Opening weekend has quite a few big matchups right off the bat.
Every DII women’s soccer top 25 team’s opening day match
Here are some we’ll be keeping close tabs on as the 2019 DII women’s soccer season gets underway.
DBU had a memorable run as the No. 5-seed to the third round of the 2018 DII women’s soccer championship, taking down No. 1-seeded Colorado School of Mines along the way. The Patriots will be put right to the test in an opening day top-20 matchup. Central Oklahoma is coming off a 22-win season, dethroning the 2017 national champion Central Missouri atop the MIAA last year.
This is a rematch of last year’s semifinal when the Lakers blanked the Flames 3-0 to advance to the championship game. Obviously, a top-10 matchup is big for both teams, but both Lee and Grand Valley State have brutal early-season slates. Lee has a battle with No. 21 Carson-Newman one week later while the Lakers head to Mankato, Minnesota, for matches against No. 18 Bemidji State and No. 25 Minnesota State before heading to No. 4 Columbus State — all in the first three weeks of the season.
Barry went unbeaten to pick up its third Sunshine State Conference tournament title before bowing out to Mississippi College in the NCAA tournament. Columbus State, of course, is a perennial contender and a tournament regular, so this will be a good test for both at the Embry-Riddle Classic in Daytona Beach, Florida.
There’s plenty to like about a top-25 matchup, but when it is also a rematch from the second round of the 2018 DII women’s soccer championship tournament, it’s that much better. Last year’s game went to penalty kicks and the Lady Buffs advanced 4-3, ending the UCCS season. You can be sure the Mountain Lions haven’t forgotten that.