UTRGV Roundup-Men’s Soccer Friendly Ends In Draw; Men’s Hoops Announces Schedule

Sports

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros men’s soccer team opened up the preseason with a scoreless exhibition draw against the St. Edward’s University Hilltoppers, the No. 14 ranked team in NCAA Division II,  at the UTRGV Soccer and Track & Field Complex.

Senior Leo Castillo and freshman Esa Aalto each played one scoreless half to combine on the shutout for the Vaqueros.

Kevin Lieb played the first 61 minutes Hilltoppers before William Tuffin completed the shutout.

The Vaqueros outshot the Hilltoppers 11-to-9, including 2-to-1 on goal.

Freshmen Juanito Ramirez and Angel Lopez led the Vaqueros with two shots each. Ramirez also had a shot on goal. Sophomore Brownsville Rivera alum Isidro Martinez had the Vaqueros’ other shot on goal.

Julian Sanchez attempted the lone shot on goal for the Hilltoppers.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley  men’s basketball team will play 31 games leading up to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament, including 14 at home, starting on Sun., Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

The Vaqueros visit Memphis to open the Emerald Coast Classic, presented by Global Sports, the the next day before returning home to face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as part of the South Texas Showdown, presented by Navy Army Community Credit Union, on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.

The Vaqueros will play at least 14 games against 2016 postseason participants, including three against NCAA Tournament participants Iowa and CSU Bakersfield (twice), four against NIT participants North Florida, Houston and New Mexico State (twice), two against CBI participant Seattle U, and five against CIT participants UT Martin, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (twice) and Grand Canyon (twice).

“It’s a challenging schedule, but as a coach, you like that,” Vaqueros head coach Lew Hill said. “It gets your players ready for conference play. We want to be the best, and to be the best, you have to play the best.”

After the home opener, the Vaqueros hit the road for seven-straight games, starting with a trip to Iowa as part of the Emerald Coast Classic. The Vaqueros then visit Southeast Missouri State before traveling to Niceville, Fla. to face Grambling State and either Savannah State or St. Francis to conclude the Emerald Coast Classic. The Vaqueros wrap up the trip with games at Portland State and Portland at the start of December.

The Vaqueros play six of their following seven games at home, hosting Texas State on Dec. 7, North Florida on Dec. 12 and Lamar on Dec. 16. Then, after a trip to Houston, the Vaqueros host Wayland Baptist on Dec. 21, Our Lady of the Lake on Dec. 29, and Texas A&M-Kingsville on Dec. 31 to close out non-conference play.

“It’s a great schedule with a very challenging non-conference schedule,” Hill said. “Nine out of our first 10 games are on the road, so we have to make sure we’re in tip-top shape and ready to go because it’s tough to win on the road, but we have to find ways to win games.”

The Vaqueros open WAC play with a trip to Chicago State and UMKC Jan. 5 and 7 before coming home to face defending WAC Tournament Champion CSU Bakersfield on Jan. 12, Grand Canyon on Jan. 14, and Chicago State on Jan. 21. The Vaqueros visit Utah Valley and Seattle U the following weekend before hosting UMKC on Feb. 4. Then, after a trip to Grand Canyon and CSU Bakersfield, the Vaqueros host defending WAC Champion New Mexico State on Feb. 18 and Seattle U on Feb. 23 before closing out the home slate with Utah Valley on Feb. 25. The Vaqueros wrap up WAC play at New Mexico State on March 4.

The WAC Tournament runs March 9-11 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The WAC Tournament Champion earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The Vaqueros will begin full team practices on Oct. 3. They will play a single exhibition game before the regular season begins, hosting The University of Texas at Tyler on Nov. 4.

All home games start at 7 p.m. with the exception of the Texas A&M-Kingsville game on Dec. 31, which starts at 1.

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