IU soccer to open 2018 on Tobacco Road

Fresh off a national runner-up finish in 2017, the road back to the College Cup for the Indiana University men’s soccer team will, in fact, begin on the road.

The Hoosiers, who announced the 2018 schedule on Tuesday, will begin the season outside the state of Indiana for the first time in six years with a visit to Tobacco Road in August.

IU opens play on Aug. 24 at Wake Forest, followed by a rematch of last year’s national semifinal game against North Carolina on Aug. 26 in Chapel Hill. The Deacons and the Tar Heels finished 1-2 in the NCAA RPI in 2017.

It’s just the beginning of a challenging slate made up of nine road games and eight homes games for the Hoosiers, who will face 10 NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago and nine squads who were ranked or receiving votes in the final United Soccer Coaches Poll.

Of Indiana’s 17 opponents in 2018, 15 finished in the top 100 of the RPI, including 12 in the top 50 and eight in the top 20.

“We are very excited about our 2018 schedule,” IU coach Todd Yeagley said in a release. “The non-conference slate will be one of the toughest we have faced in recent years, highlighted by an opening weekend road trip to play North Carolina and Wake Forest. The Big Ten will once again be one of the top conferences in the nation, providing great matchups every weekend. Our fans are going to enjoy following a very motivated Indiana team as we look to create another memorable season.”

Even the preseason exhibition matches will be challenging for IU, which hosts Xavier at Armstrong Stadium on Aug. 12, plays Louisville at Grand Park in Westfield on Aug. 15 and takes on Akron in Fort Wayne on Aug. 17 in the National Soccer Festival.

The Hoosiers’ home opener will come at the annual IU Classic, where they will face Dartmouth on Aug. 31 and Connecticut on Sept. 2.

Other non-conference home games for IU are VCU on Sept. 7 and Butler on Oct. 16.

Indiana will hit the road to face Notre Dame (Sept. 11), Evansville (Sept. 21) and Kentucky (Oct. 3).

Big Ten play begins Sept. 16 at Wisconsin. The Hoosiers also visit Michigan, Rutgers and Ohio State, which hired former IU player and associate head coach Brian Maisonneuve on Monday.

Conference home games will be against Northwestern (Sept. 26), Penn State (Sept. 30), Maryland (Oct. 12) and Michigan State (Oct. 28) in the regular-season finale.

Season tickets for 2018 are now on sale at $24 for adults and $8 for ages 3-18. Children two and under are free. Each adult season ticket also comes with a $10 concession voucher. Indiana University faculty, staff and students receive free admission with school ID on game day. Tickets can be purchased at the IU Athletics Ticket office, by phone (1-866-IUSPORTS) or online at IUHoosiers.com. Single-game tickets will go on sale in July.