MIAMI SHORES, Fla.—For Steve McCrath’s Barry University men’s soccer team, the 2013 schedule promises to be a blend of old and new that should make for an interesting season. The schedule is a very balanced one, with nine home dates and eight on the road.
The season kicks off at home on Friday, Sept. 6 as the North Georgia Nighthawks visit Buccaneer Field for the first time. The Bucs have played North Georgia at home before, but they were known as the Saints, changing their name just this summer. After a tie in Dahlonega, Ga., in 2010, the Bucs won in 2011 in Miami Shores 4-1 behind four goals by former star Mark Anderson. North Georgia, a member of the Peachbelt Conference, went 7-7-2 and finished sixth in the league.
On Sunday, Sept. 8, the Bucs face another first-time foe in the Young Harris Mountain Lions. The Lions, moving up from NAIA, joined the Peachbelt this year. They were a stellar 14-4-1 in 2012.
The Bucs’ big road trip this fall takes them up the east coast. On Friday, Sept. 13, they face the Georgian Court Lions in a game that brings old and new together. The Lions, a first-year program, are coached by former Buccaneer assistant Dino Raso. On Sunday, Sept. 15, the Bucs face one of the best in Division II in the Dowling College Lions. From 2003-10, the Lions made five appearances in the Final Four, including the 2006 national championship. Barry has not faced the Lions since 1995, dropping a 3-0 decision in the only game in the series.
Returning home, the Bucs open the “plus 4” section of the schedule (non-conference games against Sunshine State Conference foes) against the Tampa Spartans on Wednesday, Sept. 18. The Bucs and Spartans split their two games last year, with each winning on the road. The Spartans hold a 17-11-3 edge in the series, but 11 of the wins came in the first 12 games. Since 1998, the first year under McCrath, Barry leads 10-6-3.
The Bucs visit Florida Tech (Sept. 21) and Eckerd (Sept. 25), before closing the “plus 4” schedule against arch-rival Lynn on Saturday, Sept. 28.
The Panthers went 10-4-3 last season, finishing sixth in the SSC. They won the only meeting between the two in 2012, but have dropped 12 of the last 16 games to the Bucs, who hold a 15-12-3 edge in the series.
The Bucs and Tritons split a pair of 3-0 decisions last year, with each winning at home. Barry leads the all-time series 22-9-1. Eckerd was just 7-9-4 last year, but finished fourth in the conference.
Lynn comes in as the defending NCAA Division II champs after winning the title in 2012. Their 19-3-1 campaign included a pair of wins over the Buccaneers. The Bucs played them tough, however, falling just 2-0 at home and 1-0 in Boca Raton. Lynn leads the all-time series 23-8-3.
On Wednesday, Oct. 2, the Bucs take time out from the SSC to face off against the Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish. At 18 games, the Bucs have faced the Sailfish more than any other non-conference foes except for St. Thomas and lead the series 16-1-1, including a 3-2 overtime win last year on the road.
The SSC schedule kicks off in earnest on Saturday, Oct. 5 when the Bucs visit Florida Southern. The Bucs have a huge 21-6-1 lead in the series, including a 4-3 win in Miami Shores last year. The Mocs, under new head coach Ryan Sniegoski, should look different than the 2-12-2 squad that finished last in the league.
The Bucs host cross-town rival Nova Southeastern on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The Sharks were one spot ahead of the Bucs in 2012, posting a 6-9-1 mark. The one tie came against Barry in Davie and snapped a three-game win streak in the series for the Bucs. Overall, Barry leads 15-9-4.
The Bucs visit the Rollins Tars, the defending SSC Tournament champs, on Saturday, Oct. 12. The Tars (15-4-2) have had the best of the recent series, going 5-1-1 in the last seven games to take a 17-16-2 lead in the overall. But the Bucs won the last game in Winter Park to knock the Tars out of the regional tournament in 2011.
On Monday, Oct. 14 the Bucs host the Saint Leo Lions, who went 7-8-1 last season and finished right in the middle of the SSC pack at 4-4 and fifth place. They won both matches against the Bucs last season, but still trail 18-10-2 overall.
The last four games come against Florida Tech (Oct. 19) and Eckerd (Nov. 2) at home and Lynn (Oct. 22) and Tampa (Oct. 26) on the road.
The Sunshine State Conference Tournament starts on Nov. 5 with the finals on Nov. 10, while the NCAA Tournament starts on Nov. 14.