WASHINGTON, D.C. - Catholic University head men's soccer coach Travis Beauchamp announced his team's 2019 schedule on Wednesday which includes 10 home games, including contests against 2018 NCAA Tournament participants Lycoming, Mary Washington and Eastern.
The Cardinals, who finished last season ranked at No. 10 in the Mid-Atlantic Region, will face five teams who finished in the final regional rankings as well.
The 10 opponents that the Cards play at home this year combined for a .605 winning percentage in 2018 and totaled 105 victories. Catholic's first seven home opponents were a combined 90-32-14 (.713) and four were either nationally or regionally-ranked.
"We were very intentional with scheduling this year," said Beauchamp, who enters his 13th season at Catholic in 2019. "We have added some of the stronger teams from the Mid-Atlantic and Southern regions. I think our team is excited about the challenge. The goal is to be prepared for the Landmark Conference games and this will allow for that."
This year also marks the team's return to Carlini Field which has been drastically upgraded since it last hosted a soccer game in 2017.
The former Bermuda grass surface has been replaced by FieldTurf CORE, the first multi-layer, dual-polymer sports turf fiber. It is a certified level II field by FIFA that measures 120 yards long by 72 yards wide.
Carlini Field also boasts MUSCO LED lighting capable of televising games at a regional broadcast level, Daktronics scoreboard, Kwik Goal shelters, bleacher seating for up to 600 and a state of the art sound system. There are also 144 parking spaces, full-service restrooms, space for concessions, tickets and merchandise, an outdoor lounge overlooking the field and open access WiFi.
After three home exhibition matches, Catholic opens the season at home for the third-straight year by hosting the Turk Emekli Classic with Gettysburg, Lycoming and The College of New Jersey. After taking on Gettysburg (Aug. 30) in their season opener, the Cardinals will face Lycoming (Aug. 31) who went 15-4-2 last year and was ranked at No. 6 in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region rankings.
The following weekend, the Cards travel to Patchogue, N.Y., for the SJC Invitational where the will play host St. Joseph's College Long Island (Sept. 7) and St. Joseph's College Brooklyn (Sept. 8).
On Sept. 11, Catholic will face Randolph-Macon at home for the first time since 1997. The teams, who have met five times since then, were scheduled to meet in the District last year, but the game was canceled due to Hurricane Florence.
The Cardinals face their toughest stretch of the season with a four-game span that includes Dickinson (Sept. 14), Mary Washington (Sept. 18), Lynchburg (Sept. 21) and Salisbury (Sept. 25) who combined to post a 49-13-12 record last year.
Catholic travels to Dickinson who finished 11-6-2 last year and were ranked at No. 7 in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region before facing Mary Washington and Lynchburg at home.
Mary Washington, the defending CAC champion, went 14-1-5 a year ago and finished the season ranked at No. 18 in the final D3soccer.com Top 25 Poll while Lynchburg finished 13-2-2 last season and ranked at No. 23 in the final D3soccer.com Top 25 Poll.
The Cards wrap-up their four-game stretch on the Eastern Shore at Salisbury who went 11-4-3 last season, including 6-2-1 at home.
Catholic opens their 13th season in the Landmark Conference on the road on Sept. 28 at rival Scranton. Since the Landmark's inaugural season in 2007, the Cardinals have won a league-best three championships, rank second with 50 conference wins and third in total victories with 127.
Following their conference opener, the Cardinals return home for a non-conference contest against Eastern (Oct. 1) who advanced to the national quarterfinals a year ago with an 18-3-2 record. The Eagles finished the season ranked at No. 12 in the final D3soccer.com Top 25 Poll.
Catholic hosts a Landmark Conference contest against Drew on Oct. 5 in a rematch of the 2018 conference tournament semifinals where the Cards prevailed at home, 2-1. The Rangers finished last year with a 15-6 record.
Beginning with Gallaudet on Oct. 8, four of the Cardinals' final seven regular-season games are on the road, highlighted by Moravian on Senior Day (Oct. 26) and a rematch of last year's Landmark Conference championship game when Catholic returns to Elizabethtown on Nov. 2. The Blue Jays won their first league title with a 1-0 win over the Cardinals, finishing the year with a 11-5-4 record and ranked at No. 8 in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region.
The semifinals of the 2019 Landmark Conference Men's Soccer Championship will be played on Nov. 5 with the championship game on Nov. 9.
Catholic returns three All-Landmark Conference selections from a year ago in seniors Mike Narzikul and Ryan Kennedy as well as sophomore Ben Alexander. Narzikul and Alexander also were also named to the United Soccer Coaches' All-Mid-Atlantic Region Third Team.
The Cardinals finished the 2018 season unbeaten in eight of their final nine games.