WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW women’s soccer team opens the 2013 season this weekend with a pair of road contests against South Carolina and Charlotte.

Veteran Head Coach Paul Cairney’s squad will open the season Friday with a 7 p.m. contest against the Gamecocks at Eugene E. Stone III Stadium before heading to the Queen City for a 1 p.m. kickoff against the 49ers at Transamerica Field.

The contests against the Gamecocks and 49ers are part of a six-game road swing that will keep the Seahawks away from home until Sept. 13, when they entertain Longwood during action in the UNCW Courtyard Marriott Wilmington Invitational.

Picked third in the Colonial Athletic Association’s preseason coaches poll, the Seahawks enter the regular season coming off a 1-1 exhibition draw at future league foe Elon last Saturday.

Sophomore Katrina Guillou scored the tying marker for the Seahawks in the 79th minute after UNCW fell behind on a Phoenix tally in the 30th minute. Freshmen keepers Liisa Rahkola and Carolyn Huddy split time in goal for the Seahawks and combined to make five saves as UNCW held an 11-8 shot advantage in the contest.

South Carolina begins the 2013 season with nine starters back from last year’s squad that posted a 7-10-2 overall record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Head Coach Shelley Smith returns 84.5 percent of her team’s scoring from 2012, including senior Danielle Au, who led the Gamecocks in goals (4) and points (11).  South Carolina posted a 2-0 victory at CAA member College of Charleston in its lone exhibition contest on Aug. 13.

Making its return to Conference USA after spending eight seasons as a member of the Atlantic 10, Charlotte returns eight starters from its 2012 roster that turned in a 10-8-2 overall record. Junior Amanda Jones, a 2012 Second-Team All-Atlantic 10 Conference section, is back after pacing the 49ers attack with seven goals and five assists for 19 points last season. In exhibition play, Charlotte recorded a 1-0 victory over visiting UNC Asheville on Aug. 17.

UNCW returns to the pitch next weekend as it takes part in the ECU Soccer Tournament in Greenville. The Seahawks will face Western Carolina (Aug. 30) and UNCG (Sept. 1) during the two-day event.