Motlow Soccer opens season against defending national champs

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — Fall sports are right around the corner and the Motlow State Bucks women’s soccer team will open the 2023 season on the road against the defending national champions when they travel to Ottumwa, Iowa, on August 19 to face Iowa Western Community College at 11 a.m.

As if that wasn’t a difficult enough opener, the Bucks will turn around the next day and face the host school in Ottumwa, Indian Hills Community College, at 1 p.m.

“This is a huge test for us to kick off the season, but these are the caliber of teams we want to test ourselves against,” said Head Coach Andy Lyon. “It’s an exciting challenge to play against the national champions. As a player and a coach, you want to test yourself against the very best to see the level it takes to win a title and gain insight about your own team.”

The season-opening trip to Iowa will follow three scrimmage contests. The Bucks will travel to Huntsville twice in August. They play at Alabama A&M at 3 p.m. on August and they play at the University of Alabama Huntsville at 4 p.m. on August 22. The final scrimmage, on August 16 at Tennessee Wesleyan in Athens, will begin at 5 p.m. Eastern.

Motlow’s first home game at its brand-new field on the Moore County campus is Saturday, August 26, when the Bucks host Southern Union State from Wadley, AL, at 3 p.m.

“Having a home field is program-changing,” continued Lyon. “It gives us something to protect, to be proud of, and provides a real sense of belonging. We look forward to welcoming the area communities into our new home to see what they have been missing. We are grateful to the College for its investment in our program.”

The TCCAA conference opener is September 8, with Motlow traveling to Dyersburg State.

The next home game is September 16, with Motlow hosting non-conference opponent Spartanburg Methodist at 5 p.m. That begins a string of six out of seven games at home, including four conference games. The Bucks will end the regular season at home, hosting Polk State College on October 20.

Motlow finished the 2022 regular season ranked No. 19 in the nation by the NJCAA. Polk State was ranked No. 9, and Iowa Western No. 7. Both Motlow and Iowa Western advanced to the national tournament, with the Reivers beating Salt Lake to win the NJCAA championship.

For the Bucks, it was the second straight year of reaching the national tournament. Only one other program at Motlow has earned a trip to the national tournament in consecutive years. That was men’s basketball in 2016-18.

“This is perhaps the toughest schedule in program history,” added Lyon. “We are striving to be one of the top teams in the nation, and to be that, we must play some of the best teams. This year we play a defending national champion, another team in the top ten, and other teams historically at the top of their respective conferences. We are pushing ourselves to the level we want to compete. It’s an exciting time to see how this team pushes and supports each other and copes with this challenging schedule.”

Follow Motlow women’s soccer all season at •

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