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Looking at the 2018 IU Soccer Schedule

The 2018 IU soccer schedule was released Tuesday and it is set up to be appropriately challenging for a team coming off a national runner-up finish.

IU has 17 matches on the slate. Of those 17 teams, 15 of them finished in the top-100 of the 2017 NCAA RPI, including 12 in the top-50 and eight in the top-20. The challenges are absolutely there for this team and they will be tested.

Eight of the 17 matches will be home matches. Of those eight, just five will be against tournament teams from a season ago. Most of the marquee games on the schedule will take place away from the friendly confines of Bill Armstrong Stadium.

Five of IU’s first six matches will also be against seeded NCAA Tournament teams from 2017.

The road matches will test this IU team. It just comes down to whether or not they can put themselves in a position to host as long as possible in the NCAA Tournament.

There’s not shortage of big matches coming up in 2018, but let’s dive into some of the top ones.

5. Indiana at Michigan (10/7)

A lot of choices that could have cracked the top five, but Michigan is the defending Big Ten champions and the Hoosiers will have to hit the road for this match.

Michigan will be returning a lot from a season ago and could still be a formidable force in the Big Ten. Francis Atuahene gave IU trouble last season, but he is gone to MLS. Still, any Big Ten road match is tough and it will come on the heels of a midweek road match at Kentucky.

This will be another good road test for the Hoosiers.

4. Classic Weekend (8/31 and 9/2)

The adidas/IU Credit Union Classic features matches vs. Dartmouth and UCONN. Dartmouth was a tournament team from last year, and would have faced IU in the third round if not for a loss to New Hampshire.

Dartmouth has been successful in the Ivy League as of late and will give IU a good test coming off of their matches at Wake Forest and North Carolina.

UCONN had a bit of a disappointing season in 2017, but has been an NCAA Tournament team in the past and actually played IU in the 2015 second round in Bloomington.

Both Dartmouth and UCONN will have good tests in Bloomington with Notre Dame being the fourth team that IU will play a bit later in the season.

3. Indiana at Notre Dame (9/11)

Another edition of this in-state rivalry will take place in South Bend in 2018. The last time the Hoosiers played at Notre Dame, they lost 4-0.

Notre Dame comes into the 2018 season with a new man at the helm after the retirement of long time coach Bobby Clark. Still, the Fighting Irish will be a formidable opponent.

Last season was a thrilling 1-0 win for the Hoosiers in Bloomington and I would expect this match to be an exciting one too.

2. Michigan State at Indiana (10/28)

When IU and Michigan State take to the field it will be the first time since their cracking NCAA Tournament match in 2017 in which the Hoosiers advanced to the College Cup.

Michigan State will still have many of their main contributors back and it could decide the regular season in the Big Ten. Last year these two teams matched up on the last day of the regular season and it ended in a 1-1, overtime draw.

This has all of the makings to be another good matchup.

1. The Opening Weekend (8/24 and 8/26)

There is no doubt these two matches are the best of the season, so I clumped it into the No. 1 spot. IU will open up the season with matches at Wake Forest and at North Carolina. Talk about two college soccer blockbusters.

IU last faced North Carolina in the College Cup semifinal and knocked off the Tar Heels. The last time IU faced Wake Forest was in the NCAA Tournament third round in 2015.

In the past few years, outside of Stanford, it is hard to argue that there have been three more successful programs than these three. It will be fascinating to see how the Hoosiers fare in their first weekend.

Josh Eastern

I am a junior from Seattle, Washington majoring in Media. I am formerly of the Indiana Daily Student where I covered Indiana men’s soccer team and women’s basketball. You still can find me broadcasting for WIUX Student Radio and on BTN Student U outside of The Hoosier Network. Former intern at 710 ESPN Seattle and broadcaster for the Falmouth Commodores. Email: jeastern@thehoosiernetwork.com. Follow me on Twitter: @JoshEastern.

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