SAN ANTONIO – Returning to the pitch coming off a second consecutive history-making campaign, UTSA soccer has released its 18-game schedule for the 2023 season, sixth-year head coach Derek Pittman announced on Wednesday, June 21. Roadrunners soccer will be the first UTSA sport to begin competition in the American Athletic Conference and the 2023 slate features eight regular season matches at the Park West Athletics Complex and nine AAC matches.
"There is a huge buzz surrounding our team as we anticipate the start of a new season, and our players are ready to get back on the field," Pittman said. "We are really looking forward to playing in front of our fantastic 2-1-0 UTSA soccer fans and showcasing this tremendous roster of talented players this fall. This season's schedule has several formidable opponents that will test our team, both on the road and at home in the non-conference portion. Our players know that we aim to measure ourselves against the best competition possible as we prepare for what will be a huge step up in the new AAC league. We will host eight regular season home games this fall, as well as a couple of exhibitions, and we hope our fans will return to break attendance records and make Park West one the most difficult places to play in Texas."
Landmark seasons are becoming the norm for the Roadrunners, as the 2022 squad exceeded 2021's program-best winning percentage and 10-5-4 record by finishing 12-6-4, earning the Conference USA tournament title and securing the school's second appearance in the NCAA Championships. The 2022 team registered UTSA's second-most wins, while tying records for most conference victories (4) and most points in Conference USA play (15) – also setting a new program mark while winning 87 percent of home matches.
The Roadrunners return an experienced squad with invaluable experience from postseason play. Last year's team notched 39 goals, paced by the efforts of attackers and midfielders, ringing up the second-most goals in program history. The 2023 team also has the support of an experienced defensive core who helped UTSA tie for the conference lead and matched the 2008 UTSA team with nine shutouts for the second most in program history.
Admission to all games at the Park West Athletics Complex is free. UTSA soccer will add a pair of early-season friendlies at Park West, with announcements on exhibition games to be announced at a later date.
The 2023 Roadrunners officially kick off the campaign against Atlantic Sun foe Central Arkansas on Aug. 17, marking the first meeting with the Sugar Bears since 2011 – UCA was 6-9-4 in 2022. Opening week continues with the Roadrunners welcoming Southland Conference opponent McNeese State to Park West on Aug. 20 – just two years removed from a 13-win season for the Cowgirls, who went 5-9-4 last year.
After defeating the Wildcats at home a year ago for the program's first victory over a Big 12 team, UTSA will hit the road on Aug. 24 to face Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., marking the fourth season under Pittman with a Big 12 Conference opponent on the slate. UTSA toppled KSU 2-1 last August at Park West and the Wildcats finished 6-10-3.
Back to the Lone Star State and into the friendly confines of Park West, the Roadrunners will square off with Texas State on Aug. 27 in the Battle of I-35 – facing the Bobcats in a regular-season match for the first time since 2019. Boasting a similar record to UTSA in the Sun Belt, TXST was 12-5-2 last season.
A two-match road swing follows, sending the Roadrunners to Phoenix on Aug. 31 to face Grand Canyon, then north to Riverside, Calif. for a Sept. 3 meeting at California Baptist. Just the fourth game in the series, UTSA defeated GCU at home in 2021 when the Lopes won the Western Athletic Conference title – GCU logged an 11-7-2 record in 2022. Playing for only the second time, UTSA will travel to CBU for the first road game in the series – the Lancers produced an 8-5-5 record last year.
Making a brief home stop, UTSA hosts Texas A&M-Commerce at Park West on Sept. 7 in its second year as a Southland member. The Lions were 9-9-2 and reached the SLC Championship last year. The Roadrunners claimed victory in the inaugural meeting last season in Commerce, 2-0.
Stephen F. Austin is on the slate in back-to-back years, as the Roadrunners travel to Nacogdoches on Sept. 10, playing the return match after defeating the Ladyjacks in San Antonio last year, 4-2 – SFA finished 6-11-1 on the year.
The inaugural American Athletic Conference lid-lifter for UTSA is set for Sept. 14, sending the Roadrunners to Tulsa in the third meeting between the teams. UTSA last met and defeated the Golden Hurricane, 3-0, in 2021. Last year, Tulsa was 7-7-3.
UTSA will round out the week with its final non-conference contest of the schedule, heading back to Texas along I-35 to Waco and the Baylor Bears on Sept. 17. BU edged out UTSA in an exhibition last year, 2-1, but this year's meeting will be the first in regular season play since 2017. The Bears went 4-11-2 in 2022.
Kicking fully into AAC play, UTSA will close out the month with consecutive single-match weeks at home, hosting Memphis on Sept. 21, and North Texas on Sept. 28. The Roadrunners face the Memphis Tigers for the first time, with UM claiming the last two AAC titles and registering an 11-5-6 record and an NCAA third-round appearance to wrap the 2022 season ranked 21st. A more familiar foe, UNT comes to San Antonio for the 12th series meeting – UTSA has topped UNT in three of the last four outings, including in Charlotte at the C-USA semifinal to line up for the Roadrunners' 2022 Championship. UNT was 12-6-2 last year.
A three-match road swing carries the UTSA squad into its first AAC October, heading to SMU (Oct. 5), UAB (Oct. 12) and Temple (Oct. 15). SMU was 10-4-5 and AAC runner-up, UAB was 9-4-5 last year in C-USA and Temple was 1-11-4.
UTSA closes out the regular season's home slate hosting a pair of Sunshine State squads, with 2022 C-USA Championship Final opponent Florida Atlantic coming to Park West on Oct. 19, ahead of South Florida's second-ever trip to face the Roadrunners in San Antonio on Oct. 22. FAU was 11-8-3 last year, while USF was 8-9.
The Roadrunners' first AAC schedule wraps up on the road with a trip to Houston at Rice. UTSA has faced the Owls in each of the last 11 years, but Rice has held up a 9-2 advantage over that stretch. The Owls went 11-8-1 in 2022, holding off UTSA after early goals in last year's C-USA opener in San Antonio.
The American Athletic Conference Championships are to be hosted at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., Oct. 31 - Nov. 5, with the NCAA Tournament set to kick off on Nov. 10 and run through the NCAA College Cup, hosted in early December in Cary, N.C.
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