High profile D-I matchups on schedules


With a majority of UNF Athletics’ fall and winter sports schedules being released, UNF’s teams are preparing for their first season as a full-fledged Division I program.

After completing the mandatory four-year transition period before being officially named as a Division I program, the Ospreys can now compete in postseason tournaments and compete for championships. This season’s schedules will reflect the challenges of being a D-I school.

“This season’s non-conference schedule is the hardest one I’ve had in my 19 years of coaching at UNF,” UNF women’s basketball Head Coach Mary Tappmeyer said.

After an exhibition game against Brewton-Parker at the UNF Arena, the women’s basketball team will start their season on the road for a three-game road trip in which the Ospreys will face off against Florida State, Pittsburgh and South Florida. Both FSU and Pittsburgh made it to the NCAA Tournament in 2009, with FSU making it to the second round and Pittsburgh to the Sweet 16 round. The Ospreys will also travel to face BCS teams Wake Forest and Miami Dec. 14 and Dec. 31.

“It was exciting to see our girls take on FSU at home last year, but we have several exciting away games scheduled for this season against some of the top teams in the country,” Tappmeyer said.

The UNF men’s basketball team, led by first year Head Coach Matthew Driscoll, will face an equally daunting schedule. Over the course of the season, the Ospreys will travel to Notre Dame, Alabama, Northwestern, East Tennessee State and Marquette. Both Marquette and ETSU made it to the NCAA Tournament in 2009, with fellow Atlantic Sun Conference member ETSU falling just short of upsetting one-seed Pittsburgh in a 62-72 loss. UNF will play fellow A-Sun member East Tennessee State twice, once away and once at home Feb. 25.

The UNF men’s soccer team will host non-conference games against Florida Atlantic and Georgia Southern Sept. 18 and Nov. 3. The team will also travel to face Central Florida and the University of Wisconsin Green Bay in non-conference play.

“I am very excited to finally be able to play for an A-Sun Championship,” said UNF men’s soccer Head Coach Ray Bunch in a press release. “It has hurt us in the past not having a postseason to play for where now we have that extra motivational factor at the end of the season and can play for a seed into our conference tournament.”

The UNF women’s soccer team hosts several non-conference matches of their own this season, including the UNF Hampton Inn Ponte Vedra Showcase featuring Citadel and Mississippi State.

“We are really excited about the upcoming season,” said UNF women’s soccer Head Coach Linda Hamilton in a press release. “Playing tough non-conference games like Mississippi State and Georgia Southern will help us prepare for our conference games and ultimately compete for our conference title because every game counts.”

The UNF men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel in-state for the Jacksonville Short Course Duals Sept. 4 and the Florida Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville Sep. 18. They will also travel to Grand Forks, N.D. to race against the University of North Dakota and South Dakota State Sept. 5.

“All of us have been waiting and planning for the opportunity to compete for [an NCAA] Championship for a long time, and this season will be our first taste at that,” said UNF men’s and women’s cross country and track and field Head Coach Mark VanAlstyne in a press release. “Each one of our scheduled events was constructed to prepare and ready us for the south region championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala.”

The UNF volleyball team will face several non-conference opponents this season. UNF traveled to Orlando Aug. 28 to take part in the UCF Fall Classic. The Ospreys went 2-2 at the Classic defeating Bethune-Cookman and Florida Atlantic, while losing to Big East member DePaul and Central Florida, who swept every team in the tournament.

The team will also travel to play Tennessee Tech, Appalachian State and William and Mary in the Appalachian State Invitational from Sept. 4 – Sept. 5.