Let's not beat around the bush: the month of August is likely the slowest of the entire school year for UNC athletics. Only four sports – women's soccer, men's soccer, field hockey and volleyball – will be in action for the next two weeks or so (excluding UNC football's season opener against South Carolina, featuring Mack Brown's return to the sideline for the Tar Heels, on Aug. 31).
But guess what? For most UNC students, August is also the slowest month of the year. Most clubs take a while to get back into a routine, while professors will spend a chunk of time going over their disrespectfully lengthy syllabuses. Class work is at a minimum, and sleep is gloriously available.
What I'm trying to say is that whether you're a wide-eyed first-year or a jaded seventh-year senior, you have no excuse not to check out these sporting events before all of your free time evaporates into thin air.
Coming off of a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Florida State in the NCAA title game, the Tar Heels begin their redemption tour on Thursday, Aug. 22 when they host Indiana.
It will be the team's first game in the new UNC Soccer Stadium, constructed on the space formerly known as Fetzer Field. Previously, both soccer teams held home games at WakeMed Soccer Park, which was a cool 30 minutes from campus.
The 6:30 p.m. matchup with Indiana is directly preceded by a game between Duke and La Salle at 4 p.m., also at the UNC Soccer Stadium. Both are part of the Carolina Nike Classic, a four-game event that continues on Sunday, Aug. 25 with games between North Florida and La Salle at noon and UNC and Duke at 6 p.m.
The Tar Heels and Blue Devils will face off in what will be just the second game of the season for both teams, a rivalry-infused tune-up for a grueling regular season. North Carolina will face Duke for a second time on Oct. 10 in Durham as a part of its conference schedule.
UNC fans can then tune in to the Pac-12 Network to watch the Tar Heels take on Washington on Aug. 29. That game is a part of the Husky Invitational in Seattle. UNC will face Portland on Sept. 1 to close out that event.
The men's soccer team begins the season a little later than the women's team – on Aug. 30 against Creighton, as a part of its own version of the Carolina Nike Classic. Then, two days later, the Tar Heels will again defend their new home turf, this time against UCF on Sept. 1.
Riding high after an undefeated national championship campaign in 2018, the Tar Heels will begin their quest for back-to-back titles on Friday, Aug. 30 as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Karen Shelton's squad will play fellow powerhouse Michigan to start the year. Then, on Sept. 1, UNC faces off against Iowa, with both of those matchups being held in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
UNC field hockey's first home game this season isn't until Sept. 6 against Princeton. If you're in town and want to support the team in the meantime, however, you can make the trip to Durham on Saturday, Aug. 24, when the Tar Heels will go to Duke for an 11 a.m. exhibition.
The Tar Heels begin the 2019 campaign with a pair of daunting top-five matchups, hosting Minnesota and Wisconsin on Aug. 30 and 31, respectively, as a part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
After an 8-19 season in 2018, getting off on the right foot will be no small feat for the Tar Heels, especially given the level of competition. Still, fans of high-level volleyball should make their way to Carmichael Arena, as North Carolina will look to end a month of UNC athletics on a promising note.
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