PROVO, Utah -- Ready for action as the newest members of the West Coast Conference, BYU women’s soccer head coach Jennifer Rockwood and staff announced their formidable 2011 schedule beginning with an blue/white contest in Provo on August 10.
‘We are really looking forward to the 2011 season and our new affiliation with the WCC,” Rockwood said. “The new conference will provide a tremendous challenge for our program and gives us a renewed focus to be our very best."
"Our players are anxious and actively engaged in their preparation for the fall knowing the tremendous opportunity we have to play both a very competitive pre-season and conference schedule.”
The 2011 schedule will feature five teams that made an appearance in the 2010 NCAA Women’s College Cup, eight new WCC opponents, four teams that finished ranked in the nation’s Top 25, teams from the ACC, Big-12 and PAC-12, and 11 chances for Cougar fans to see the team play at home on South Field.
The Cougars begin their 2011 campaign with back-to-back road games against Colorado College of Conference USA in an exhibition and the University of Washington from the Pac-10. The Huskies finished their 2010 season ranked No. 15 after advancing to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament.
Returning to Provo after their brief road stint, the Cougars will host two home games against in-state rival Utah and the University of Miami from the ACC on August 23 and 26 before again heading out on the road to play at Idaho State on the 30th.
“The team will look to be challenged from the very beginning of the season,” Rockwood said. “Colorado College will give a great test on the road to prepare us against Washington, a program that excels year in and out, and also advanced to the Sweet 16 last year.”
Fullerton, Arizona and Rice are BYU’s next home opponents beginning Sept. 2nd through the 10th. The Cougars defeated very talented Rice and Cal State Fullerton teams in 2010 by 1-0 and 3-0 marks, respectively, on the road. In 2009 the Cougars won on the road against Arizona also by a 1-0 final score.
The last four games before conference play begins with a tough road trip to Big-12 territory against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. OK State finished ranked fifth in the country last year while OSU advanced to the Elite Eight and lost to Notre Dame, the team that went on to win the 2010 National Championship. The Cougars last played Oklahoma State in 2009 when the Cowgirls were ranked No. 15, defeating them in overtime on South Field. Oklahoma, a team BYU has never before competed with, finished last season strong with an advancement to the NCAA tournament.
Idaho and Utah State at home close out non-conference play. The Cougars have a long tradition with both Idaho State and Utah State, and have totaled a combined 11-2 record against the teams.
The Cougars left the Mountain West Conference with their seventh tournament championship title, a tournament MVP in midfielder Jessica Ringwood, two All-Americans in Lindsi Lisonbee and Carlee Payne, and their 13th all-time appearance to the NCAA Women’s College Cup. They now enter a conference powerhouse includes two former national championship teams, several teams consistently ranked in the Top 25, and a rich history in soccer excellence.
“The history and success of the WCC is well documented, and we hope that we can make a positive addition to the tradition, respect, and achievement of the conference,” Rockwood said.
Conference action begins at home on Oct. 6 against Portland, followed by Pepperdine on Oct. 8. The Pilots finished 2010 ranked No. 8 and have long since established themselves as a soccer powerhouse with two national championships and the first-ranked attendance in the country.
Two road games against Santa Clara and Gonzaga wrap up the first half of conference competition. Santa Clara finished the 2010 season ranked No. 18.
A home game against Loyola Marymount and road game against San Francisco begin the second half of WCC play. The University of San Diego comes to Provo on Oct. 29 for BYU’s Senior Night and penultimate match-up of the 2011 season. A game at St. Mary’s on Nov. 5 will wrap up the season for BYU.
“With the core of our 2010 team returning, we recently had a very productive spring season,” Rockwood said. “The team saw tremendous progress both individually and collectively over the past several months. We also saw the emergence and development of several leaders whose commitment, effort, and positive energy will allow us to set high goals and expectations for the upcoming year and prepare ourselves for the competition of the 2011 schedule.
Click HERE to view the 2011 schedule online at byucougars.com.