The lights of the USF soccer stadium will shine even brighter this season, as the USF women’s soccer team faces a challenging schedule.
The Bulls will face four 2002 NCAA Tournament teams, including in-state rivals University of Central Florida and Florida State University.
“The only way to get to the top is by gaining experience playing the best,” said USF women’s soccer coach Logan Fleck in a news release.
The Bulls hope that playing their best will give them the opportunity to compete in the 2003 Conference USA Tournament.
If the Bulls are successful in earning a berth to the C-USA Tournament, they won’t have to travel too far.
For the first time, the 2003 women’s C-USA soccer tournament will be held at USF Nov. 4 – 8.
USF is still waiting to announce its home opener, but it will host the Golden Knights early in the season on Sept. 1 before traveling to another in-state rival Stetson on Sept. 4.
UCF will provide the Bulls with an early challenge, as the Golden Knights posted 18 wins in 2002 and won its eighth Atlantic Sun Championship.
UCF returns with seven starters from its NCAA Tournament team of last season.
The Bulls will host Miami for the first time in the history of USF on Sept. 7, then continue their Florida tour at Florida Atlantic University on Sept. 14.
Heading into its C-USA season, USF will travel to North Carolina to face East Carolina and Charlotte, Sept. 26 and 28.
Charlotte finished the 2002 season ranked in one Top 25 poll, posting a record of 16-2-2 while earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The 49ers also boast one of the League’s best scoring threat in Courtney Crandell.
As a freshman, Crandell scored 21 goals, earning her an All-American selection.
Cincinati ended the Bulls’ season last year by defeating USF 3-1 in the 2002 C-USA Tournament.
After finishing its season 17-4-3, the Bearcats were ranked No. 23 in the final Top 25 poll of the season.
Another NCAA Tournament team will make its way to Tampa this season when FSU visits the Bulls on Oct. 1.
The Seminoles were one of the 16 final teams in 2002, ranked No. 14 in the final Soccer Buzz Top 25 Poll.
Florida International University will be USF’s final Florida foe when the Golden Panthers and the Bulls meet for the first time since 1999.
The Bulls will round out its season when they host UAB on Oct. 31.
“We look forward to an extremely challenging season with a very youthful group,” Fleck said.