Dayton, Tenn. – Bryan College Head Men's Soccer Coach, Drew Courtney, has announced the 2017 Lions Soccer schedule, which is slated to have their preseason begin on Aug. 16 in Rome, Ga. at NCAA foe, Berry College for a scrimmage before returning home on Aug. 19 with their only other scrimmage before the start of regular-season against the Chargers of the University of Alabama Huntsville.
The Lion's schedule consists of 18 games, with nine taking place at home and nine on the road. Bryan will host NCCAA powerhouse, Bob Jones University (S.C.) on Aug. 24 at 7pm to kick-off the 2017 regular-season. The Lions look to repeat last year's meeting when they went on the road mid-season and shutout the Bruins 3-0.
After an impressive 16-3-3 overall record, trip to the 2016 NAIA Men's Soccer Nationals Opening Round, and a final ranking of 17th in the 2016 Men's Soccer Coaches' Postseason Top-25 Poll, the Bryan Men's Soccer team has an extremely testing schedule ahead of them but offers a chance to climb the poll at a rapid rate. Following last year's schedule where the Lions played more ranked teams than any other top-25 program, this season Bryan will contend with three top-10 teams, three top-25 teams, and two that received votes from the postseason poll. The anticipation will be building around mid-August when the 2017 NAIA Men's Soccer Coaches' Top-25 Preseason Poll is released.
Once the Lions wrap up their home opener with Bob Jones, they hit the road for Thomasville, Ga. on Aug. 26 where they have their first duel with a ranked opponent in Sun Conference foe, No. 13 Thomas University. William Carey University (Miss.), who finished 9th in the nation last year, will be playing host to Bryan Aug. 28, and the trying play continues for the Lions at home on Sept. 2 when Mid-South Conference school, No. 16 Campbellsville University (Ky.) will take their best shot at Bryan. The Lions host the Bears of University of Pikeville (Ky.) on Sept. 5 and then have a two game stretch on the road with 6th ranked West Virginia Tech University Sept. 9 and Dalton State University (Ga.), who received votes, Sept. 12. The Knights of St. Andrews University (N.C.) will make the long trip from Laurinburg, N.C. for the Lion's Appalachian Athletic Conference opener, slated for 2pm on Sept. 16. Conference play resumes at home versus Reinhardt University (Ga.) Sept. 19, 7th ranked Union College (Ky.) Sept. 26, and Bluefield College (Va.) Sept. 30. For the first game of October, Bryan meets with cross-town rival Tennessee Wesleyan University on the 3rd, who were receiving votes. On Oct. 7, the Lions host USCAA member Florida National University, before picking up AAC play at Milligan College (Tenn.) Oct. 10 and Montreat College (N.C.) Oct. 14. The last home game of the regular-season, which will be Senior Night for the Lions, is scheduled for Oct. 17 at 7pm against fellow AAC opponent, the Bears of Truett McConnell University (Ga.). Regular-season is closed out at No. 23 Georgia Gwinnett Oct. 21 and conference foe Point University (Ga.) Oct. 24.
"Our team is very excited about our season and looking forward to being together again," said Coach Courtney. "Our out-of-conference schedule is purposefully challenging as we play six ranked opponents out of our eight matches. We want to prepare ourselves for conference and post season play, and we feel like the best way to do this is by playing the best teams we can."
The Lions are coming off one of their most successful seasons in program history, where they battled their way to a 16-3-3 overall record, while piecing together a 3-2-2 record versus top-25 opponents and topping three schools that were receiving votes. Bryan earned a No. 10 seed in the NAIA National Tournament but fell in the Opening Round. Despite being knocked out early, it was only Bryan's fourth appearance in the National Tournament.
As a team, the Lions gained national attention by the following rankings in the NAIA:
No. 16 in total shutouts (10), No. 21 in shots on goal per game (9.05), No. 23 in total goals (58), No. 24 in shots per game (18.09), No. 26 in shutouts per game (0.45), No. 31 in goals per game (2.64), No. 32 in total assists (40), and No. 46 in assists per game (1.82). Along with having players named AAC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, Bryan also had three recognized as NAIA All-Americans and six garner NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors.
To view the full 2017 men's soccer schedule, click here.
Follow Bryan Men's Soccer on Twitter @BCLionsMSoc.