Let the Games Begin

(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The BYU women's soccer team kicks off the 2005 season on the road this weekend with games on Saturday against George Mason and Monday verses host Hawai'i before returning to Provo for a four-game home stand.

"We are all just really excited to get back on track," said head coach Jennifer Rockwood. "This program has a huge tradition of success and some of us feel like we let that tradition down last year. There is a renewed level of energy and effort to go out there and prove ourselves."

Saturday's game against George Mason will kick off at 11 p.m. (MDT), while Monday's action against Hawai'i gets underway at 9 p.m. (MDT). Both games will be played in Honolulu at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.

Returning 10 of 11 starters, the BYU women's soccer team is anticipating restoring its winning tradition this year by regaining the MWC title and appearing in the NCAA tournament. Despite a 7-10-4 record in 2004, the Cougars were a young, talented squad who at times showed flashes of brilliance and gave glimpses of what Cougar fans can expect during the 2005 season. With that tremendous potential, along with a renewed enthusiasm and commitment, the 2005 team is ready to get back to its winning ways with a successful campaign this year.

George Mason

George Mason finished its 2004 campaign with a 10-7-3 record and tied for third in the Colonial Athletic Association. Head coach Diana Drake returns for her second season with the Patriots, welcoming back nine starters and 12 letterwinners. This will be the first meeting between BYU and George Mason.

University of Hawai'i

Since their first meeting in 1996, Hawai'i and BYU have met on the field four other times with the Cougars leading the series 3-0-2. Last year's meeting was a hard fought defensive battle with the game finally ending in a 0-0 double overtime tie. The Rainbow Wahines finished the 2004 season with a 12-6-3 record. Head coach Pinsoom Tenzing returns six starters and 15 letterwinners to his squad.

HAWAI'I WELCOMES HOME LUI

Senior Charlene Lui will return home this weekend when the Cougars head to Hawai'i. Lui was born and raised in Hawai'i, where she learned to love soccer. She was a four-year starter for Punahou High School in Honolulu, a team that won three state championships. She was also an ILH First Team All-Star in 2001 and 2002, while joining the Olympic Development Program in 2001.

From the moment Lui stepped onto BYU's soccer field in 2002, her career has been a dream. She tried out for marking back, but somehow found herself at midfield, although still at times playing defender. She also quickly earned a starting spot as a midfielder, while being just a freshman.

The highlight of Lui's career came her sophomore year as BYU kicked the competition on their way to the program's first Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA tournament. Lui attributes a lot of that team's success to the senior class. She says they brought a tremendous amount of motivation and laughter, characteristics she hopes to bring to this year's team.

WHAT'S UP NEXT

Next weekend the Cougars head back home for two home games. The team's home opener is set for Friday, Sept. 2 against Weber State at 7 p.m. BYU will then host Utah State on Monday, Sept. 5. Kick off is slated for 8 p.m., at South Stadium.

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