PRINCETON, N.J. -- All eight Ivy League men's soccer squads will begin the 2014 campaign this coming weekend, including seven of them taking the pitch for the first time on Friday.
The Ivy League Digital Network (ILDN) will have coverage of five men's soccer games this weekend. The network is being showcased with a free viewing weekend beginning this Friday and running through Sunday. Along with the five men's soccer telecasts, there will also be more than 30 other contests shown during the free weekend, featuring field hockey, women's soccer, women's volleyball and men's water polo.
Defending Ivy League champion Penn hosts the University City Classic this weekend and will face cross-street rival Drexel on Friday at 7 pm and Central Connecticut State at 4:30 pm Sunday.
Penn is one of four Ivies playing at home this weekend. Brown hosts Siena on Friday night before travelling to Boston University on Sunday. Yale hosts Sacred Heart on Friday evening and Columbia hosts Michigan on Saturday afternoon. Each of the five home contests will be shown on The Ivy League Digital Network, kicking off an anticipated broadcast schedule of close to 50 men's soccer contests this season.
The Quakers return six starters including 2013 Ivy League Player of the Year Duke Lacroix. LaCroix had eight goals and 19 points last season, both team highs. Louis Schott also returns to anchor the midfield for the Quakers, who were eliminated in the NCAA Tournament's opening round by Providence in penalty kicks. The Ivy League crown was Penn's first outright Ancient Eight title in 41 years.
But defending the title has been difficult for Ivy League men's soccer champions lately. The last team to defend an Ivy title was Dartmouth in 2004-05, when the Big Green won it outright in 2004 and then shared the crown with Brown and Yale a year later. You have to go back to 1997-98 to find the last time a team won back-to-back Ivy crowns outright, which was Brown. That was when Brown was strong, winning at least a share of the title in six out of eight years and winning the title outright three times in that span. In fact, six of the Ancient Eight have won at least a share of the Ivy crown over the last five seasons.
Three Ivies will face teams ranked in the Top 10 according to Top Drawer Soccer. Harvard has a tough task in taking on No. 9-ranked Georgetown in the nation's capitol on Friday. The Hoyas tied Indiana and Notre Dame over the weekend. Dartmouth visits No. 2-ranked Notre Dame on Friday night and then faces No. 19 Indiana on Sunday in South Bend. Cornell visits eighth-ranked Louisville on Friday night.
Princeton, which returns the powerful frontline duo of Thomas Sanner and Cameron Porter, open the season at Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday night.
The first Ivy League matches take place on Saturday, Oct. 4.
Friday, September 5
Harvard at Georgetown, 4 pm
Sacred Heart at Yale, 5 pm [IVY]
Siena at Brown, 7 pm [IVY]
1-Drexel at Penn, 7 pm [IVY]
2-Dartmouth at Notre Dame, 7:30 pm
Cornell at Louisville, 8 pm
Princeton at Fairleigh Dickinson, 8 pm
Saturday, September 6
Michigan at Columbia, 3 pm [IVY]
Sunday, September 7
2-Dartmouth vs. Indiana, 11:30 am
Harvard at George Washington, 1 pm
Cornell at Xavier, 1 pm
1-Central Connecticut St. at Penn, 4:30 pm [IVY]
Brown at Boston University, 7 pm
1-University City Classic, Philadelphia
2-Berticelli Tournament, South Bend, Ind.
IVY - Streamed live on The Ivy League Digital Network