Fresh off a spring campaign which saw the program make a run to the MVC championship match, the Valpo soccer team unveiled its schedule for the fall 2021 season Friday afternoon — a slate which features nine regular season home matches on Brown Field and a pair of road matches at professional parks.
Valpo will face a pair of tough tests in exhibition play to tune up for the season, traveling to take on reigning MAC champion Bowling Green (Aug. 7) and hosting Western Michigan (Aug. 13), which went 6-2-2 in MAC play this spring. Opening weekend then presents two more challenges for the Brown and Gold, as Valpo opens the campaign Aug. 19 at Indiana — which went 6-4-1 in Big Ten play this spring — before hosting Ball State, which went 6-2-1 this spring and faced BGSU in the MAC title match, on Aug. 22.
The fixture against the Cardinals is the first of five non-conference home matches for Valpo. Three more prior to the start of conference play will come in an eight-day span in early September, as Valpo welcomes Northern Illinois (Sept. 3), St. Bonaventure (Sept. 5) and Western Illinois (Sept. 10) to Brown Field. Meanwhile, a lengthy break between conference matches in early October presented an opportunity for the Brown and Gold to host IU Northwest on Oct. 9.
The match at Indiana is one of four non-conference road matches. Valpo travels to Pittsburgh for an Aug. 27 match at Duquesne, and remains in the Steel City to face Robert Morris two days later at Highmark Stadium, the home ground for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC of the USL Championship. Valpo’s final non-conference fixture takes place Sept. 12 against Chicago State at SeatGeek Stadium — home of the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL and former home of the MLS’ Chicago Fire — in Bridgeview, Ill.
Valpo kicks off conference play at home against Illinois State Sept. 17. The Brown and Gold will also face Southern Illinois (Sept. 29), UNI (Oct. 17) and Evansville (Oct. 23) on Brown Field, while traveling to match up against Indiana State (Sept. 24), Missouri State (Oct. 3), Drake (Oct. 13) and Loyola (Oct. 28). The MVC Championship runs Oct. 31 through Nov. 7, with the tournament champion earning the conference’s automatic berth into the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
Valpo returns 12 letterwinners for the fall 2021 season, including eight starters who helped the Brown and Gold to a third-place regular season finish and a berth in the MVC title match this spring. Included among the returning starters are reigning MVC Goalkeeper of the Year Nikki Coryell and United Soccer Coaches Third Team All-Region selection Kiley Dugan.