PEORIA, Ill. - For just the fourth time in the history of Bradley Athletics, one of its teams will host the defending national champion when the reigning Missouri Valley Conference champion Bradley Soccer program welcomes defending national champion Notre Dame for the annual Danny Dahlquist Memorial Game Aug. 19 at Shea Stadium.
Notre Dame becomes the first defending national champion in any sport to visit Peoria since Oklahoma State began defense of its 2009 men's cross country national title by running in the 2010 NCAA Midwest Regional, hosted by Bradley at Newman Golf Course. In the only previous head-to-head matchups by the Braves against a defending national champion, the Bradley men's basketball team split two games against Cincinnati in the early 1960's at Robertson Fieldhouse - a 70-68 win against the #2 Bearcats Jan. 10, 1962 and a 52-46 loss against #1 Cincinnati Jan. 17, 1963.
The 7 p.m. exhibition game against Notre Dame figures to feature five local products: former Peoria Notre Dame High School star Vince Ciccarelli is preparing for his senior season with the Fighting Irish, while Bradley's lineup features a pair of Ciccarelli's former PND teammates, Alex Garcia and Grayson McGraw, as well as freshmen Jacob Taylor (Dunlap) and Matt Perry (Monmouth, Ill. via Zionsville, Ind.).
"The chance to have the University of Notre Dame as the defending national champion come to Peoria, and in a World Cup year, is a great opportunity for Central Illinois to see one of the elite college soccer teams in the country," said 19th-year head coach Jim DeRose. "While we are excited for the opportunity to challenge ourselves against the defending national champion, Central Illinois soccer fans should be proud and excited to see locally-developed players showcased in this game."
Tickets for the Danny Dahlquist Memorial Game against Notre Dame will go on sale July 9 at the Bradley Athletics Ticket Office in Renaissance Coliseum. General admission prices will be $10 and groups of at least 15 may purchase tickets at a $6 group rate. A limited number of free tickets will be available for 2012-13 members of the Little Braves Club, who must claim their tickets by July 30.
Following the exhibition against Notre Dame, Bradley will play 10 regular-season home games at Shea Stadium as part of an overall 18-game, regular-season schedule before playing host to the Missouri Valley Conference Men's Soccer Championship for the fourth time in five years. The Braves previously hosted all three rounds of the MVC Touranment in 2010, 2012 and 2013, winning the league title in 2010 and 2013.
"With the loss of 11 seniors, the 2014 schedule certainly will prove challenging," said DeRose. "However, we feel that it will prepare us for the Missouri Valley Conference, which will be a veteran league this year. The goal of the schedule not only was to play top competition, which our players and fans are accustomed to, but also to secure home-and-home series with teams from the top power conferences and we have accomplished those goals."
After visiting Illinois-Chicago for a second exhibition game Aug. 24, the Braves officially will kick off the 28th season in program history by hosting San José State, UNLV and Western Illinois in the Bradley Classic Aug. 29 and Aug. 31 at Shea Stadium. The Braves will continue their season-opening, 3-game home stand by hosting BIG EAST Conference member Xavier Sept. 4.
Following the Xavier game, Bradley will embark on a season-long, 6-game road trip, starting with a West Coast swing to San Diego (Sept. 12) and Cal State Northridge (Sept. 14). After facing Marshall (Sept. 19) in the opening game of Evansville's Aces ProRehab Classic, veteran Bradley head coach Jim DeRose will face one of his former assistants when the Braves take on Brad Ruzzo's Mercer squad Sept. 21 in the final round of the Evansville tournament. Bradley will open Missouri Valley Conference play with a pair of road matches, Sept. 27 at Loyola Chicago and Oct. 4 at SIU Edwardsville.
With the 6-game road swing complete, Bradley will play seven of its final nine regular-season games at home, beginning with an Oct. 6 matchup against defending Summit Leage champion Denver. The Braves will alternate non-conference and conference games during a 5-game home stand, following Denver with games against Evansville (Oct. 11), Eastern Illinois (Oct. 13), Central Arkansas (Oct. 18) and Omaha (Oct. 20). The Oct. 18 Valley game against Central Arkansas will be the featured event during Bradley University's annual Homecoming weekend.
The Braves will visit defending MVC regular-season champion Missouri State Oct. 25 and will host Belmont Oct. 28. After visiting Big Ten Conference newcomer Rutgers Oct. 31, Bradley will close out the 2014 regular season Nov. 8 by hosting Valley rival Drake. The MVC Tournament will begin with first-round games for seeds 3-6 Nov. 12, followed be semifinal games Nov. 14 and the championship game Nov. 16.
2014 Bradley Soccer Schedule
Aug. 19 DANNY DAHLQUIST MEMORIAL GAME vs. NOTRE DAME, 7:00 p.m.
Aug. 24 exhibition at Illinois-Chicago, 3:30 p.m.
Aug. 29 Western Illinois vs. UNLV, 4:30 p.m.
SAN JOSÉ STATE, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 Western Illinois vs. San José State, 12 p.m.
UNLV, 2:30 p.m.
Sept. 4 XAVIER, 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 at San Diego, TBA
Sept. 14 at Cal State Northridge, TBA
Evansville Aces ProRehab Classic
Sept. 19 vs. Marshall, 5 p.m.
Sept. 21 vs. Mercer, 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 *at Loyola Chicago, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 *at SIU Edwardsville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 DENVER, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 *EVANSVILLE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 EASTERN ILLINOIS, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 HOMECOMING vs. *CENTRAL ARKANSAS, 7 p.m.
Oct. 20 OMAHA, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 *at Missouri State, 6 p.m.
Oct. 28 BELMONT, 7 p.m.
Oct. 31 at Rutgers, 6 p.m.
Nov. 8 *DRAKE, 7 p.m.
2014 MVC Men's Soccer Championship
Nov. 12 FIRST ROUND, 4 & 7 p.m.
Nov. 14 SEMIFINALS, 4 & 7 p.m.
Nov. 16 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, TBA
All times Central and subject to change
Home games in BOLD CAPS and played at Shea Stadium
*Missouri Valley Conference games
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