Athletic departments create schedules years in advance of the actual season. It's a difficult balancing act based on when and how good your team is. But for the pioneers, scheduling tough teams is what their program is all about. Challenges are a part of any season on any given team. For the pioneers the challenges have been scheduling and experience. "We've got a young core of players, we've got a lot of freshman that get serious minutes so we're looking to do good in nonconference, we'd like to be a little better right now, were 3-2 we'd like to be 4-1 or even 5-0. I think we have the talent to do that but I think this year is definitely more to gain experience for next year." The pioneers have a discrepancy between young and old players so building a sense of comrade is crucial. "We talk a lot about being together, we talk a lot about we do things for each other. When you get tired and you want to stop playing it's not about you wanting to stop playing on yourself it's about you stopping on everybody, we really tried to push one more possession, one more stop because you don't want to let the buddy next to you down." It's typical of most teams to experience highs and lows throughout a season, but which teaches you a better lesson? "Honestly I think the losses, no tough losses bring us together like Hamilton and Potsdam, we had the game, both of them, could of won both and I think that brought us together to give us the motivation for the next games." The pioneers will take the experience of their tough schedule head on into empire eight play. But before they do, Utica plays another local rival in SUNYIT.