Seven home matches and a pair of contests against NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago highlight the Lander men's soccer schedule, which the reigning Peach Belt Conference regular season champions announced on Monday.
Lander is coming off a 2016 campaign that featured the program's first regular season title since 2012, a perfect 9-0 record in PBC play, return trips to both the PBC Tournament championship match and the NCAA Tournament and a second consecutive 14-win season as the Bearcats finished with 14-4-1 overall record.
"It's always exciting in the build up to a new season and to see the teams that we're up against adds to that," said Lander head coach Lee Squires. "It's a tough schedule both in and out of conference, but we're looking forward to the challenge and are ready build on the success of the last two years. This is the best squad we've had and the expectations and goals are high."
The Bearcats open the 2017 season with a home contest against Chowan (August 31), the first ever meeting between the two programs. Lander then travels to Lenoir-Rhyne (September 3), a team that advanced to the second round of last year's NCAA Tournament, as the Bearcats look to avenge their lone home loss of the 2016 season.
Lander renews its rivalry with Erskine (September 6) in a home match at 7:00 p.m., before making consecutive road trips to Tusculum (September 10), the No. 3 seed in last season's NCAA Southeast Regional, and Anderson (September 13).
The Bearcats begin conference play with a 7:30 p.m. home match against Clayton State (September 16), then travel to Flagler (September 20) for a rematch of last year's PBC Tournament semifinals. Lander then hosts Francis Marion (September 27) before concluding the month with a trip to Catawba (September 30).
The final month of the regular season begins with conference matches at North Georgia (October 4) and at home against USC Aiken (October 7). The Bearcats then face Mars Hill (October 10) and PBC Tournament champion Young Harris (October 14) on the road.
Lander welcomes Carson-Newman (October 21) and Queens (October 25) to Van Taylor Stadium for the final two home matches of the regular season. The Bearcats conclude the regular season slate on the road at Georgia Southwestern (October 28).
All of Lander's home matches will be broadcast on the Bearcat Broadcasting Network. The Bearcats ranked third in the PBC in average home attendance, their highest home ranking since 2013.
Lander returns six All-PBC players from last season, the most in the conference.