WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Fifth-year head coach Kelly Shimmin has released the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's soccer team's 2019 schedule, it was anounced on Tuesday. Shimmin and the Blue Jays sport 18 regular-season matches, highlighted by nine home dates, on the 2019 docket. USJ's home matches this season are set to be played on the brand new turf USJ Soccer Field on the West Hartford campus.
The women's soccer team will be the first to debut the new turf playing surface as they open the 2019 regular-season at home versus Skyline Conference opponent Manhattanville on Friday, August 30. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. with the USJ men's soccer team to follow at 5:30 p.m. versus MCLA in a season-opening doubleheader. It marks the sixth straight year USJ opens the season against Manhattanville with the Blue Jays undefeated over that span owning a 4-0-1 record against the Valiants.
Following the home opener, USJ will hit the road for a brief two-game non-conference stint with stops at Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) opponent Nichols (Sept. 1) and Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) foe MCLA (Sept. 4). The Blue Jays then return home for their first of two three-game homestands during the 2019 campaign. The first two home matches are versus New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) opponents Eastern Nazarene (Sept. 7) and Bay Path (Sept. 11) before opening Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) play as they host Norwich on Saturday, September 14 at 12:00 p.m.
The Blue Jays wrap up their non-conference slate with a trip to Mount Holyoke (Sept. 18) of the New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), marking the fifth different conference USJ will face in out-of-league action.
With 11 games remaining on the schedule, the Blue Jays dive deep into GNAC territory. They first travel up to Rivier on September 21 before heading to perennial powerhouse Lasell on September 25. The eighth-seeded Blue Jays nearly stunned the top-seeded Lasers in the quarterfinals of the GNAC Tournament last season, falling 2-1 in double overtime, before Saint Joseph's College of Maine dethroned the eight-time defending GNAC champion Lasers in the conference title game.
USJ then returns home for its second three-game home swing hosting Colby-Sawyer (Sept. 28), Anna Maria (Oct. 2) and Regis (Oct. 5). They will then get a tough two-match road test at Johnson & Wales on October 9 and at Saint Joseph's (Me.) on October 12 against a pair of teams who are consistently at the top of the GNAC standings year in and year out.
The Blue Jays split their final four games with two home and two away. USJ hosts Suffolk on Saturday, October 19, which will also serve as Senior Day for the Blue Jays' lone senior Olivia Norton (Berlin, Conn.), before their final home game on Wednesday, October 23 versus Emmanuel. Saint Joseph will wrap up the 2019 crusade with road matches at Simmons (Oct. 26) and intrastate rival Albertus Magnus (Oct. 30.).
The top-eight teams in the league standings will advance to the 2019 GNAC Tournament, which is set to begin with the quarterfinal round on Saturday, November 2, with the top-four seeds serving as hosts. The semifinals will be held on Tuesday, November 5 by the remaining two highest seeds, followed by the championship match on Saturday, November 9 by the highest remaining seed.
The Blue Jays finished eighth in the regular-season standings at the conclusion of the 2018 campaign and earned their 19th consecutive berth to the GNAC postseason tournament before falling to top-seeded Lasell, 2-1, in double overtime in the quarterfinals.
Admission to all USJ women's regular-season soccer games in 2019 are free of charge.