Aaron Gordon's inaugural Mississippi State soccer schedule will be a challenging one that includes nine home contests at the MSU Soccer Field.
MSU's 2013 slate includes five teams that received NCAA Tournament bids in 2012.
After hosting South Florida in an Aug. 16 exhibition match, State officially launches the Gordon era at South Alabama on Aug. 23. The Dawgs open the home slate two days later, challenging an Arkansas State unit that won five of its last seven matches of 2012.
"This season's schedule has a good mix of home and away matches against quality competition. Hosting a talented South Florida squad in the preseason will give us a good idea of where our team stands heading into the regular season," Gordon said. "Having matches like Florida Gulf Coast on the road and Furman at home in the non-conference will really prepare our newcomers for the start of a grueling SEC slate that sees us play four NCAA Tournament teams in our first six matches."
Gordon takes his squad on the road for the next four matches, beginning with a trek to Fort Myers, Fla., for the Embassy Suites Classic hosted by Florida Gulf Coast. MSU opens the tournament Aug. 30 against Florida Atlantic before wrapping play against the host Eagles on Sunday.
Florida Gulf Coast posted a 14-4-3 ledger last season en route to winning its third-straight Atlantic Sun champion and advancing to the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs head to Southeastern Louisiana Sept. 6 and stop in Hattiesburg to meet Southern Miss on Sept. 8.
MSU hosts the annual Bulldog Classic Sept. 13 and 15 to close the non-conference slate. The Dawgs open play against Friday against a Furman team that returns Southern Conference Player of the Year Stephanie DeVita from a 2012 squad that went 16-3-3 and lost on penalty kicks in the SoCon championship game.
State wraps the Bulldog Classic and the pre-SEC slate Sunday against in-state foe Jackson State.
The Bulldogs' 11-game SEC slate opens with back-to-back matches against NCAA Tournament competitors Missouri and Texas A&M.
State hosts the Tigers Sept. 20 before heading to College Station a week later to face an Aggies' squad that advanced to the Round of 16 after winning the SEC West title.
Gordon's squad treks to LSU Sept. 29 before returning to the home pitch for an Oct. 4 contest against a Kentucky squad that advanced to the NCAA Second Round last season.
Following an Oct. 6 trip to Arkansas, the Bulldogs host another NCAA Round of 16 squad in defending SEC champion Florida on Oct. 11.
State heads to Georgia and Vanderbilt Oct. 18 and 20, respectively, before wrapping the home slate against Alabama on Oct. 25 and South Carolina on Oct. 27.
The Dawgs seek to retain the Magnolia Cup Oct. 31 when they head to Oxford to face rival Ole Miss in the regular-season finale.