TULSA–Elite Eight team Michigan State, as well as 2017 NCAA Tournament teams Michigan and SMU, highlight the 2018 Tulsa men’s soccer schedule, as announced today by Head Coach Tom McIntosh.
“We have a good schedule,” McIntosh said. “We are excited to compete against some teams we haven’t played in long time or ever before, and we renew an old series with UNLV and former conference rival New Mexico. When we move into conference play, all of the games will be good games as the conference will be very strong again this year, and we are looking forward to them all.”
TU finished the 2017 campaign with a 6-8-1 overall record, including a 3-4 mark in American Athletic Conference play, but went undefeated against 2017 NCAA Tournament opponents with a 2-0 win over #1 Stanford, a 1-0 victory over #19 SMU and a 2-2 tie with #25 Wisconsin.
Tulsa scored 25 goals and earned four clean sheets, while then sophomore Miguel Velasquez was tabbed to the United Soccer Coaches All-East Region team, senior Rollie Rocha picked up The American all-conference second team accolades and freshman Joe Ruiz was selected to The American All-Rookie team.
The Golden Hurricane will begin the 2018 season with a pair of road contests, facing Michigan on Aug. 24, and then Michigan State on Aug. 26. The Wolverines finished last year as the Big Ten Regular Season Champions, played in the NCAA Championship Second Round, and were ranked #22 in the final United Soccer Coaches poll.
The MSU Spartans advanced to the NCAA Championship Elite Eight and were ranked #6 in the final poll. TU’s only meeting with Michigan State came in 2004 when Tulsa picked up a 3-1 win in the NCAA Championship First Round, while it will be the first meeting for the Hurricane against Michigan.
Tulsa comes home to the friendly confines of the Hurricane Soccer and Track Stadium to host UNLV (Aug. 31), North Florida (Sept. 2) and New Mexico (Sept. 7) in a three-game home stretch. The Rebels tallied 11 wins, including seven victories in the Western Athletic Conference, a year ago, while the Lobos picked up eight wins and the Ospreys posted three victories last season.
This will be the first meeting between Tulsa and UNLV since 2001 as the series is tied, 3-3, while New Mexico has a 7-6-1 edge in the series over TU, and it will be the first meeting for TU and North Florida.
The Hurricane will then face four of the next five opponents on the road, including Saint Louis (Sept. 11), SMU (Sept. 21), Denver (Sept. 24) and USF (Sept. 29), with a home game scheduled against Drake on Sept. 15. The Billikens earned seven wins last year, including a 2-1 overtime win in Tulsa, but it was TU that captured a 1-0 win over then 19th-ranked SMU, which won both the regular season and tournament titles in the American Athletic Conference, advanced to the NCAA Championship Third Round and finished the season ranked #8 in the United Soccer Coaches poll.
Tulsa also posted a 2-1 win against Denver last season, a team that finished as The Summit League Runner-Up and totaled 11 wins, to take a 3-1 lead in the all-time series. The Bulls posted a 3-2 win over TU when USF was ranked #17. Drake had six wins last season.
UCF and Missouri State come to town on Oct. 6 and Oct. 9, respectively. The Knights completed the season ranked second in The American, tallying eight wins, including a 3-0 victory over Tulsa, but the Hurricane maintains a 10-2-3 advantage in the series. The Bears also picked up a win over TU a year ago, and ended the season as the Missouri Valley Conference Runner-Up.
The Hurricane will play at Cincinnati on Oct. 13, before hosting Memphis on Oct. 20. The Tigers and Bearcats finished the season ranked seventh and eighth, respectively, in The American, and recorded 11 combined wins, including just two in league play last year.
The battle for the Mayor’s Cup will be hosted at ONEOK Field on Oct. 23. It will mark the first year of a two-year commitment to play the rivalry game at ONEOK Field.
“This was an idea discussed by my assistant coaches Ryan Pore and Daniel Cherbonnier, and we thought it was a no brainer to have the TU-ORU game hosted by the Roughnecks at ONEOK Field,” said McIntosh.
“Our goal is to create an environment like some of the other local rivalries in the country. California Santa Barbara played Cal Poly in front of nearly 15,000 fans, and Creighton played UNO in front of 5,000 fans. We know we can do something similar and showcase the two NCAA Division I programs in the state. We need to raise the awareness of the strength of our programs in Tulsa, and I believe this is a vehicle to help achieve that goal.”
Tulsa and ORU didn’t meet in 2017, but the two teams battled to a 3-3 double-overtime tie in 2016 as the Hurricane has a 21-2-1 lead in the all-time series.
The Hurricane will make it’s last regular season trip to Temple (Oct. 27), before closing out the slate at home against UConn (Nov. 2). The Huskies and Owls finished third and fourth, respectively, in The American last year, and had 17 wins combined.
The American Athletic Conference Championship will be hosted by the regular season champion on Nov. 9 and 11.