Battery’s schedule ‘the best ever’

Charleston Battery’s new 28-match USL Pro regular season schedule features 13 prime weekend home dates, six extra games against geographic and traditional rivals, and zero road trips with two games within 24 hours.

“I’d say it’s the best ever — certainly the best since 2010,” Battery president Andrew Bell said of the new schedule announced Monday afternoon by the league.

Twelve of the Battery’s home dates will be played on Saturday nights — traditionally the most fan-friendly night of week. Of the two remaining home dates, the Battery will host traditional rival Richmond on its only regular season trip to Charleston on June 10, and kick off the Independence Day weekend on July 3 in a matchup with Rochester.

The league was able to manage the schedule improvements by applying two twists. Charleston will compete entirely within the 12-team USL Pro Eastern Conference, and the league stretched the season from March 21 to Sept. 19. The 2014 regular season ended on Sept. 5.

No team will have a longer season. Charleston is one of three teams that will host home openers on March 21 (against Toronto FC II) and conclude its schedule on the final night of the season in a home date with Charlotte Independence.

May will be the busiest month, with six scheduled regular season matches and the start of the U.S. Open Cup.

The College of Charleston’s equestrian team continued its winning streak with a victory in an Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) show hosted by Georgia Southern at Evermore Farm in Brooklet, Ga.

The College finished first with 34 points, followed by show host GSU with 25 points. Having now championed all five shows in the 2014-15, the defending national runners-up and Reserve National Champion Cougars lead IHSA Zone 5 Region 3 by 67 points over trailing Georgia Southern and the rest of the region.

Freshman Emily Alvarez and sophomore Hannah Robinson sealed the victory by winning their sections of Novice Flat and Walk Trot, respectively. Other class winners were Eliza Hay in Open Flat, Malka Fox-Epstein in Intermediate Fences, and Kelsey LeBuhn in Intermediate Flat.

Just over halfway through the season, Charleston has already notched six Regional qualifiers in Ruth Elgren in Walk, Trot, Canter; Victoria Bauer and Evelyn Lewis in Novice Flat; Victoria Bauer in Novice Fences; Malka Fox-Epstein in Intermediate Flat and Eliza Hay in Open Flat. The Zone 5 Region 3 finals will be hosted by CofC on March 1 at Storybook Farm.

The Cougars now shift their focus to a Two Hunt Seat showcase hosted by Clemson at Garrison Arena on Feb. 21-22.

The South Carolina Stingrays received future considerations from the Quad City Mallards of the ECHL in exchange for forward Anthony Collins.

Collins, 25, grabbed six assists in 51 career games with the Stingrays dating back to last season and registered 177 penalty minutes. This season, the Surrey, British Columbia, native picked up 68 penalty minutes and two assists in 19 games.