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Patriots tackle ACC opponents

FLORENCE, SC – Over a span of nine days, three Francis Marion University sports teams will take on opponents from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Patriot women’s soccer team (3-11-1) will close out its 2009 season at North Carolina State University (7-8-2) on Thursday (Oct. 29). Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. on the Wolfpack’s Dail Soccer Field.

The FMU women’s basketball team will play an exhibition game at the University of North Carolina on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. in the Dean E. Smith Center. The contest will pit the Patriots against former Francis Marion head coach and current UNC mentor Sylvia Hatchell.

The FMU men’s basketball team will play an exhibition game at Clemson University on Friday, Nov. 6, at 7:30 p.m. in Littlejohn Coliseum. 

Admission to both basketball games will be free with general admission seating.

The Patriot soccer team is coming off back-to-back 3-0 wins, while five of N.C. State’s eight losses have been to nationally ranked opponents. The Wolfpack won the only previous meeting between the two programs 3-0 in Raleigh during the 2007 season.

The FMU women’s basketball team returns five letterwinners, including four starters, from last year’s 27-5 squad that won the Peach Belt Conference regular-season championship for the second straight year, advanced to the round of Sweet 16 in the NCAA Division II Tournament, and finished the year ranked 14th in the nation. Seven newcomers and two redshirts from 2008-09 join the Patriot roster for 2009-10. Three of the newcomers are transfers from NCAA Division I schools.

The Tar Heels, recently named the pre-season favorite in the ACC by the Blue Ribbon Panel, return nine letterwinners (3 starters) from last year’s 28-7 squad that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Hatchell recorded 272 of her 812 career wins, and two of her three national championships, while coaching the Patriots between 1975 and 1986.

The women’s match-up also features two of the top scoring teams from last year as FMU led Division II in scoring at 88.1 points per game and UNC was second in Division I with an 82.7 ppg average.

The Patriot Men return four lettermen from last year’s 16-12 squad that tied for fifth in the Peach Belt Conference, and posted the program’s second-best record this decade. Joining the returnees will be 15 newcomers, including three NCAA Division I transfers, two Division II transfers, five junior college transfers, and five high school products.                                             

Clemson returns 11 lettermen and two starters from last season’s 23-9 squad that made the program’s second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The Tigers were recently picked to finish third in the preseason poll by ACC sportswriters.

The Patriot women’s basketball team will play a second exhibition contest on Saturday, Nov. 7, in Rock Hill against Big South Conference member Winthrop University. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in the Winthrop Coliseum.

#52/10-27-09

Last Published: October 28, 2009 3:39 PM
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