Triangle Soccer Fanatics recently noted that a few area ACC collegiate soccer matches that will be aired on Fox Soccer Channel as part of their expanded collegiate soccer coverage. Duke v. Maryland should be a great match again this year, among others.

As I was reading that post on TriSoccerFan, I received a press release via email from UNCG announcing a schedule change to accommodate the airing of one of their men’s soccer matches on FSC.

This is the first time since 1998 that a UNCG soccer match has been televised.

GREENSBORO, NC – UNC Greensboro Director of Athletics Nelson E. Bobb confirmed Friday that the men’s soccer match between UNCG and Coastal Carolina has been moved to Friday, September 22 to accommodate a television broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel.

"We’re very pleased to be able to enter into this agreement," said Bobb. "It is opportunity to give exposure to our outstanding program and our top-of-the-line stadium. To be asked to be a part of the television package is a true testament to how good our men’s soccer program is."

The game will be aired live as part of the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) and Fox Soccer Channel’s National Game of the Week package beginning at 8 pm. The package will air on Fox Soccer Channel on Thursday and Friday nights at 8 pm and feature 12 men’s matches and eight women’s matches. A full broadcast schedule will be announced next week by the NSCAA.

"This is obviously a great opportunity for both of our programs," said UNCG coach Michael Parker, the winningest active coach in NCAA Division I. "We’ve had some great contests with Coastal Carolina the last few years and they are an outstanding program, having made the NCAA Tournament several times over the last decade. It also gives us the chance to showcase our program and our beautiful facility."

The match-up, which was originally slated for Saturday, September 23, features a pair of NCAA Tournament teams last year. UNCG advanced to the third round of the tournament before falling to SMU. Coastal Carolina, making its fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, lost at Clemson in the first round last year, 2-0. Both Clemson and SMU went on to advance to the semifinal round in Cary, NC.

It is the third straight year that the two teams have met. Last year in Conway, SC, UNCG defeated Coastal Carolina, 1-0, on an own goal. The Spartans also won in 2004, 2-0, at UNCG Soccer Stadium. The Chanticleers won, 1-0, the 2003 season opener in Conway.

UNCG, which was ranked No. 18 in College Soccer News’ pre-season Top 30 poll last month, finished last season with a 16-6-1 mark overall, 5-1-0 in conference play. The Spartans shared the Southern Conference regular season title, their second straight regular season crown, and won the SoCon Tournament title. The Spartans graduated five seniors from last year’s squad, including four starters, but return their top two scorers in All-Americans Randi Patterson and Scott Jones. UNCG’s incoming class was rated the 13th-best recruiting class in the country last month according to CSN, its highest ranking and marking the fourth straight year it received a Top 40 ranking.

Coastal Carolina finished last year with an 11-9-1 mark and won its third straight Big South Tournament title. The Chanticleers return seven starters and 11 letterwinners from last year’s squad, including juniors Lachlan Cahill, a midfielder who recorded 17 points (5g, 7a) last season, and Aaron Weant, who appeared in 18 matches in goal last season and recorded a 1.16 GAA.

National television last visited UNCG in 1998 when UNCG Soccer Stadium was the site of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship semifinal and final rounds.

UNCG, which reports for pre-season practice this weekend, will take on Duke in an exhibition match on Wednesday, August 16 at UNCG Soccer Stadium beginning at 7 pm.

It’s nice to see FSC working to showcase more collegiate matches. The excitement ahead of last year’s televised Duke v. Maryland match was noticeable. Bummer – can’t catch the Duke exhibition since my Rec teams practice on Wednesday. Oh well!