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By Justin Grones (@JustinGrones)
GreenBayPhoenix.com

GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Second-year men’s soccer head coach Dan Popik has announced his squad’s demanding 2013 schedule, which includes two early season contests against top-25 teams from a year ago. Now in its 45th season, the program will face four opponents that made it to the NCAA Tournament last season.

"We have put together a tough non-conference schedule early in the season which should help us prepare for Horizon League play," said Popik. "We are challening ourselves with four opponents from last year's NCAA Tournament field, and those games will only make us better as the season progresses."

To view the 2013 schedule, click here.

Green Bay opens the season on Aug. 30 at DePaul before a contest on Sept. 1 at Marquette, who is ranked No. 8 in the Preseason CollegeSoccerNews.com Top-30 Poll. The Golden Eagles finished 2012 with a 16-3-1 record after falling to Northwestern in the second round of last year’s NCAA Tournament.

The Phoenix will play its home opener on Sept. 7 when Western Illinois comes to town, a team that finished 7-8-5 a year ago before falling to Northwestern in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. Green Bay will finish its two-game homestand with a contest against Viterbo.

Green Bay then heads to the NIU adidas Invite in DeKalb, Ill. from Sept. 13-15. The Phoenix will open the tournament against Northwestern, who appeared in the 2013 NCAA Tournament and ranks No. 16 in the CollegeSoccerNews.com Preseason Top-30 before taking on the host Huskies on Sunday.

Another tournament follows the next weekend as the Phoenix travels to the Evansville Soccer Classic Sept. 20-22 to play neutral site games against Eastern Illinois and NJIT.

Green Bay opens Horizon League play on Saturday, Oct. 5 against Valparaiso as part of Alumni Weekend. The team will kick off a tough road trip following Alumni Weekend, starting with a visit to Milwaukee on Oct. 8 to battle the Panthers for the Chancellor’s Cup. The Phoenix heads to Ohio on Oct. 12 to battle Cleveland State, the reigning Horizon League Champions.

The team's final non-conference game, a home contest against Drake on Tuesday, Oct. 15, kicks off a stretch of three of four games at home. Green Bay hosts Detroit on Saturday, Oct. 19, closes October at Wright State on Saturday, Oct. 26 before welcoming new Horizon League member Oakland to Santaga Stadium for the home finale on Saturday, Nov. 2. The Golden Grizzlies finished last year at 11-7-1 overall and 5-1-1 in Summit League play.

The Phoenix will conclude the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 9 in Chicago against UIC.

In preparation for the 2013 season, Green Bay will host St. Thomas next Wednesday, Aug. 21, with an exhibition matchup at Aldo Santaga Stadium. Green Bay will then travel to Madison to face Wisconsin on Aug. 24 for its second and final exhibition matchup.

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