MARSHALL, Texas – Following a successful first season in which he led the East Texas Baptist University women’s soccer team to the conference tournament, head coach Erik Solberg will look to guide his team to future success in the upcoming 2017 season.
Last season, ETBU finished with a 6-8-4 record overall and a 4-6-2 conference record, which was good enough for the sixth seed. ETBU’s journey came to an end in the first round with a 4-1 loss at the hands of UT-Tyler.
Coach Solberg could not contain the excitement of the upcoming schedule for his team this season. “We are very excited about this upcoming year,” said Coach Solberg. “We have a talented core of returners, as well as a large group of incoming freshman that will improve the quality of our team immediately, both on and off the field. With only four seniors, we are going to be on the ‘younger’ side this year, so we wanted to have a non-conference slate that would test us and prepare us for the rigors of the ASC week in and week out.”
In all, ETBU will have seven non-conference games, including a stretch of five straight to open the season. The 2017 slate kicks off with a two-game road trip to Schriener (Sept. 1) and Texas Lutheran (Sept. 3). ETBU then returns to Cornish Field for their first home game of the season against Hendrix University on Tuesday, September 5th. ETBU will conclude a stretch of road nonconference games at Alcorn State (Sept. 7), and Dallas (Sept. 10), before coming home to open ASC play.
ETBU will have two more nonconference fixtures during conference play. One will be a road game at Millsaps in Jackson, Mississippi (Sept. 26), while the other one will be a home match vs. Austin College (Oct. 4).
“Our non-conference schedule this year will give us a chance as a staff to get to know our team and provide an opportunity for our younger players to experience and become acquainted with college soccer,” said Coach Solberg. “Overall, it gives us a chance to compete at a high level that will prepare us for the meat of our schedule when we enter conference play.”
ASC Conference play begins Sept. 14 with the first of two home games against Concordia and Mary Hardin-Baylor on Sept. 16. ETBU will also be hosting Sul Ross State (Sept. 30), LeTourneau (Oct. 7), Louisiana College (Oct. 19), and Belhaven (Oct. 21) on Senior Day. ETBU will be on the road to Abilene for two games against McMurry (Sept. 21) and Hardin-Simmons (Sept. 23). They will also play conference road games against Texas-Tyler (Oct. 12), Ozarks (Oct. 14), Howard Payne (Oct. 26), and Texas-Dallas (Oct. 28).
“The ASC is an extremely difficult conference with perennial powers at the top,” said Coach Solberg. “I also think the back half of the conference is going to improve this year and make the conference more competitive top to bottom. Every match in the conference will be a challenge to come away with three points, but we feel that we will be up to that challenge, in part due to our non-conference schedule.”
For Coach Solberg, the only thing that he asks is for the support of Tiger fans to show the team. “We love the support that our parents, fans, and student population gives us at Cornish Field,” said Coach Solberg. “We hope to use our home-field advantage to help us improve on the strong foundation we built last year.”