“We are excited about the demanding schedule we have lined up for the fall,” said Smith. “Our non-conference schedule will certainly challenge us, in competition and travel, and will be a good preparation for our defense of the conference tournament championship. Eight of our first 12 regular season matches are on the road so we have a heavy travel load that we will need to carefully manage. The trip to California to play Pacific and Bakersfield will be a good test as we put ourselves against top teams from across the country. Additionally, we have tough opponents in Milwaukee, NIU, UIC, UMKC, UNO and Western Michigan that will challenge us to be at our best.” Drake closes the conference portion of its schedule at home against Central Arkansas on Oct. 29 before ending the regular season with a non-conference home match against Western Illinois on Nov. 1. Drake, the defending 2015 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament champions, will play 12 road contests and six home contests at Cownie Soccer Complex. The team will prepare for the fall campaign with two home exhibition matches – Bellevue University on Aug. 14 and Eastern Illinois on Aug. 17. The 2016 MVC Men’s Soccer Championship will be hosted by Missouri State in Springfield, Mo., at the Betty and Bobby Allison South Stadium on Nov. 8-13. The tournament is a Tuesday-Wednesday-Friday-Sunday format with all seven teams advancing to the tournament for the first time. Tuesday’s single match will feature the No. 6 seed vs. the No. 7 seed with the winner facing the No. 3 seed on Wednesday. The semifinals will be played Friday with the championship match on Sunday, Nov. 13. Drake captured the 2015 MVC Tournament by edging host SIUE, 1-0, and then knocked off Kentucky, 2-1, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. “With the new conference schedule format we are excited that we have the opportunity to play Bradley and Loyola twice in the regular season,” Smith commented. “It makes for a more difficult schedule as both are excellent opponents, but we embrace the challenge and know we need to play against top teams in order to get the best out of ourselves. The conference will be tight again with several teams competing for the regular season championship and the conference tournament championship. We look forward to the challenge ahead and plan on building on this past season’s success at the conference level with the goal of pushing further into the NCAA tournament.” Print Friendly Version DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University men’s soccer program will have a challenging 18-game schedule for the 2016 season, second-year head coach Gareth Smith announced Monday, June 13. MVC road matches are on deck next as Drake travels to SIUE and to Loyola on Oct. 1 and Oct. 8, respectively. 2016 is the first season of a new schedule initiative by the conference, where teams will utilize the traditional round-robin slate in league action while also having teams play two of their closest geographical rivals twice. The Bulldogs return home to host Bradley on Oct. 11 and then visit Missouri State on Oct. 15. Drake then welcomes Evansville on Oct. 22 before traveling to Bradley on Oct. 26. The Bulldogs open the regular season with six-consecutive road matches across five states, beginning with a trip to DeKalb, Ill., to play at Northern Illinois on Aug. 21. Drake then travels to California for a two-match road trip at Pacific on Aug. 26 and followed by another at Bakersfield on Aug. 28. Drake starts the month of September with a road match at Omaha on Sept. 2 followed by games at Milwaukee on Sept. 6 and UMKC on Sept. 10. The Bulldogs then host Milwaukee on Sept. 13 in their first home match followed by their first MVC match as they host Loyola on Sept. 17. A road match at UIC on Sept. 20 is next for Drake, who then closes the month with a road game at Western Michigan on Sept. 27. The Bulldogs and the Broncos last played in 1996.