"To say our fall schedule will be challenging is a major understatement," said Lundy. "Nine of our 18 opponents went to the NCAA Tournament in 2011. Having said that, if we can focus and take advantage of these great opportunities against top-notch competition, then we can earn a bid back to the NCAA Tournament for ourselves. We have a large senior class next year and I want to see them end their careers as Cougars in the best way possible."
The Cougars will play at Patriots Point in front of their home-town fans nine times during the regular season and bring in such names as Stanford, Dayton, Maryland and 2011 national champion North Carolina as well as a strong slate of home games in the Southern Conference.
Last season, CofC ranked 24th in the nation in home attendance averages and was one of just 26 schools in the country to average over 1,000 fans per game. The 2012 slate promises to excite fans and provide opportunities to further Patriots Point's Patriots reputation as an imposing environment for visiting teams as well as a first-class venue to enjoy the Cougars' high-quality level of soccer.
After a pair of exhibition games against the University of Central Florida and East Tennessee State, both of which have been to the tournament in the past two seasons, the Cougars open the regular season on Friday, August 24 with a rematch of last season's spectacle against intrastate rival South Carolina. The Cougars upset the No. 15 Gamecocks, 3-2, in front of an all-time record crowd at Patriots Point to open the 2011 season.
The Cougars then return home to host the 12th annual Nike / Aaron Olitsky Memorial Classic at Patriots Point over Labor Day weekend. This year's Classic brings to town Dayton, Stanford and Furman for the next edition of this first-class tournament. CofC challenges Stanford on Friday, Aug. 31 and Dayton on Sunday, Sept. 2.
CofC will once again participate in the Furman Diadora / Spinx Tournament this season and challenge UNC Wilmington on Friday, Sept. 7 and Memphis on Sunday, Sept. 9 in Greeneville, S.C.
After completing the tournament portion of their schedule, the Cougars embark on a grueling three-week stretch in which five of their next six opponents went dancing and finished the year ranked in the top 30 last season.
It starts with a road haul to New Jersey where the Cougars will take on Rutgers and Monmouth on Friday, Sept. 14 and Sunday, Sept. 16, respectively. Monmouth won the Northeast Conference Championship and hosted an NCAA Tournament game before advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season. Rutgers advanced to the third round of the tournament.
The Cougars then return home to host Winthrop on Wednesday, Sept. 19 before taking on three more 2011 tournament participants in consecutive games.
The Cougars play at Coastal Carolina on Tuesday, Sept. 25 before hosting last season's No. 9 finisher Maryland in an exciting game which will fill the capacities of Patriots Point on Saturday, Sept. 29. The Cougars then open the SoCon portion of their schedule at Furman on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Furman earned the third-ever at-large bid to the tournament from the SoCon last season.
CofC undertakes two more SoCon foes in Appalachian State and UNC Greensboro in the following week on Saturday, Oct. 6 and Tuesday, Oct. 9.
The Cougars then host defending champion North Carolina at Patriots Point on Saturday, Oct. 13 in another marquee game that will likely threaten the attendance records at the facility.
The squad then takes its final road trip of the season to Elon for a SoCon contest on Tuesday, Oct. 16 before returning home for three all-important conference games to close the regular season.
Down the stretch, CofC hosts Davidson on Saturday, Oct. 20, Georgia Southern on Saturday Oct. 27 and Wofford on Tuesday, Oct. 30.
The 2012 SoCon Championship will open with quarterfinal matches to be played on campus sites on Saturday, Nov. 3 and the semifinals and finals to be played in Cary, N.C., on Friday, Nov. 9 and Sunday, Nov. 11.
Lundy prepared his squad for this demanding slate with a competitive spring in which the Cougars took on professional clubs four different times as well as some of the best collegiate competition in the region.
"This spring we put in a ton of work because we are determined to make 2012 a successful season," said Lundy. "Our players were able to gain a lot of experience by playing against professional teams on four occasions. We also saw some very good Division I and Division II programs and were able to get some positive results which reinforced the work we have been putting in.
"All in all we have made strides since last fall and now the players have to focus on making the summer period productive leading into next fall."