Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
CEDAR CITY, Utah, May 23 – The Southern Utah University women’s soccer team released its schedule for the upcoming 2013 season on Thursday. The Thunderbirds will play an ambitious schedule highlighted by matchups with the University of Utah, Arizona and Arizona State and nine home contests in front of their local fans.
“On our fall schedule you will see games from top to bottom that will challenge us in different ways,” explained SUU second-year coach Becky Hogan. “The one constant you will find in our opponents is quality. We figure that in order to become the best, we need to play the best.”
The Thunderbirds open the fall by hosting Utah State in an exhibition match on Aug. 17 before taking a trip to California to start the regular season at CSU Bakersfield on the 23rd. The team then hosts UCSB in its home opener on Aug. 28. SUU will finish up the month at the 2013 Colorado College Invitational with back-to-back games against Appalachian State on Aug. 30 and Vermont on Sept. 1.
“I think the mid-week home game we have versus UCSB the first week of school will be a very exciting on-and-off the field,” commented Hogan. “We are teaming up with the University to offer the fans a very fun game environment, and the Gauchos are a perennial power in the Big West Conference.”
SUU then takes on a challenging three-game stretch that will see the T-Birds square off against Utah, Arizona and Arizona State. The meeting with the Utes is set for Sept. 8 in Salt Lake City and is followed by another tournament appearance at the Arizona Cats Classic in Tucson. The Thunderbirds take on the host Wildcats on Sept. 13 and ASU on the 15th. The Sun Devils are coming off a trip to the NCAA tournament last fall.
“Of course we will really be looking forward to the rematch versus the University of Utah,” stated Hogan. “The outstanding spring season armed us with an array of tools that will keep us in big games such as this, and with the addition of some firepower up-top I believe we will compete with the Utes. It should be a tremendously exciting game.”
After the Thunderbirds wrap-up tournament play, it will be soccer season in Cedar City as the team returns home for five straight contests. Southern Utah hosts UC Riverside on Sept. 20 and UTEP on the 22nd before starting conference play with matches against Northern Arizona on Sept. 28, Weber State on Oct. 4 and Idaho State on Oct. 6. The Bengals captured the Big Sky championship last year while the rival Wildcats will make their first visit to SUU as a conference foe.
“One of the best things about our Conference schedule, in my opinion, is that we start off with three home games,” commented Hogan. “I'm confident that we will head into this weekend prepared and ready for action, it is a fantastic set up to start the season and I think you saw many teams benefit from this type of arrangement last fall.”
The conference slate then holds a trip to Portland State and Sacramento State on Oct. 11 and 13 after which the T-Birds host their final home games of the year against North Dakota and Northern Colorado on the 18th and 20th. SUU then ends the regular season on the road with matchups at Eastern Washington on Oct. 25 and Montana on the 27th. The Big Sky Tournament will then be held the weekend of Nov. 2.
“We will need to capitalize on the early favorable scheduling to gather momentum heading into a very tough road trip to Portland and Sacramento,” explained Hogan. “UNC will be looking to avenge our game from last year where our 1-1 tie knocked them out of the tournament. Our final stand will be made on the road, and in typical Big Sky fashion, will possibly determine a spot in postseason play. Both Montana and EWU are difficult places to play on the road, especially that late in the year.”
SUU got a good look at the Big Sky last year and is ready to make a run at the conference in its second go-round this fall.
“One of the best things about college sports to be able to play this wide variety of opponents from across the country; you see different types of players, and different styles employed,” stated Hogan. “The young women on our team across the board are showing some really tremendous intensity and dedication when it comes to preparation and I think it is largely attributed to this lineup of great teams. Only time will tell, but there is a good feeling in the air and one can't help but get excited for August to roll around.”
As evidenced by the masses of loyal fans around the world, one of the best parts of a soccer match is being counted among the supporters there in person to cheer your team on to victory. Local soccer fans are invited to come take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy high-level soccer, free of charge, by coming out to see the Thunderbirds.
“I would love to see the soccer community come out in droves. Our student-athletes have done a tremendous job of reaching out to the community and inserting ourselves into the fabric of Iron County,” commented Hogan. “We aim to increase that presence and will offer additional free clinics at our games, and will be out all summer lending helping hands where need be. All we ask in return is that you come enjoy the world's most popular sport with us!”
To see the complete 2013-14 Thunderbird soccer schedule please click here.
Sun. Oct. 19
(T) 2 -2
Fri. Oct. 17
vs. Eastern Washington
(L) 1 -2
Sun. Oct. 12
@ North Dakota
(W) 3 -1
Fri. Oct. 10
@ Northern Colorado
Fri. Oct. 3
(T) 2 -2
Sun. Sep. 28
vs. Portland State
(W) 2 -0
Fri. Oct. 24
@ Idaho State
Sun. Oct. 26
@ Weber State
Fri. Oct. 31
@ Northern Arizona