by Cory Guinn
WILSON, N.C. – The Barton College men's soccer team and the Bulldog Athletic Department have released a 17-match schedule for the 2017 season, including eight matches to be played in the Barton Outdoor Athletics Complex in Wilson.
The Bulldogs, who finished last season 6-11-1 overall and 4-5-1 in Conference Carolinas play, will look to continue its rebuilding efforts that saw the program have a three-win increase a year ago and appear in the conference tournament for the seventh consecutive season.
Following three preseason exhibitions, including a home contest against Methodist University on August 23, the Bulldogs open the regular season with a four-game road trip.
Barton begins the season against the Pioneers of South Atlantic Conference memberTusculum College on Saturday, Sept. 2 before another non-conference matchup with Francis Marion University on Wednesday, Sept. 2 in Florence, S.C. Consecutive matches against Conference Carolinas opponent Lees-McRae College and non-conference foe University of the District of Columbia, conclude the early season travel.
BC hosts league opponent Limestone College in its first home match of the 2017 season on Saturday, Sept. 16 during the college's Family Weekend before hosting NCCAA member John Wesley University on Wednesday, Sept. 20 in a mid-week contest. The Saints were runners-up in last year's conference tournament and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
After traveling to Central, S.C. for a match against Southern Wesleyan University, the Bulldogs return to Wilson to host another SAC member in Queens University of Charlotte at the Barton Outdoor Athletics Complex. BC and the Royals last played during the 2012 season when Queens was still a conference affiliate.
The Bulldogs play the Crusaders of Belmont Abbey College on Sept. 30 in a rematch of a contest that was decided in the last five minutes of action a year ago, leaving Barton as a 3-2 victor. In-state rival University of Mount Olive comes to Wilson on Oct. 5 for a mid-week matchup, followed by a tilt with Erskine College on Oct. 7 in league action.
Barton renews its series with Chowan University after a one-year hiatus, taking on the Hawkes in Murfreesboro, N.C. on Oct. 11. Beginning in 2017, Chowan will begin a scheduling alliance agreement with the league and count toward the overall conference standings.
Home contests with Emmanuel (Ga.) College and Shaw University see the Bulldogs compete in Wilson before back-to-back road trips to South Carolina to take on North Greenville University and Coker College. The 2017 season concludes on Sat., Oct. 28 when King (Tenn.) University comes to town and the Bulldogs take part in Homecoming Weekend in the team's final regular season match.
Four of the Bulldogs' eight home matches will be weeknight encounters under the lights at the Barton Outdoor Athletic Complex as the other four matches in Wilson are scheduled for the weekend.
The league championship that will be contested on the week of Oct. 30 – Nov. 5 will once again be a bracket-style tournament with eight teams qualifying based upon league standings at the end of the regular season. The better seeds will host the first round, while the highest remaining seed hosts the semifinals and finals.
NOTE: The 2017 Barton College men's soccer schedule is subject to change. Fans are encouraged to check the men's soccer schedule page on www.BartonBulldogs.com throughout the season to confirm dates, times and locations.