Utah coach Rich Manning has announced the Utes' 2007 schedule.
May 16, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah women's soccer team will take on four teams that advanced to last year's NCAA Tournament and play eight home games in 2007. Ute head coach Rich Manning announced the complete 2007 schedule Wednesday.
Utah returns four starters and 16 letterwinners from last year's team that went 16-5-1, won the Mountain West Conference regular season championship with a 7-0-0 record and advanced to its fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament.
The four NCAA Tournament teams on the schedule are Colorado, Idaho State, UNLV and BYU. Utah will also take on four teams from the Pac-10 Conference, which had the second-highest RPI last season -- Arizona, Washington State, Oregon and Washington.
"The two things that come to mind with this schedule are road tests and emerging opponents," Ute head coach Rich Manning said. "Our program has grown and we have an experienced group returning with high expectations. We will certainly need to be mentally tough in order to navigate the tough environments in which we will be playing."
Utah will be tested early in the season. Of the Utes' 11 road games, the first five are against top 70 RPI teams from a year ago. The Utes play their first four games on the road, beginning at Arizona on Friday, Aug. 31.
"The first two weeks of the season will tell us a lot about our team," Manning said. "We've got road tests against four quality teams. We'll know right away what we are good at and what we need to work on. We'll get a good sense of our character and mental toughness right away. Hopefully, we'll get some results as well so we can get off to a good start. But we'll definitely get invaluable experience, which we can draw upon later in the year.
Utah's home opener is a rematch of its thrilling 2006 NCAA Tournament first round game against Idaho State on Friday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. The Utes defeated the Bengals 3-2 in double overtime last fall. Utah's first homestand is also its longest. Following the matchup with Idaho State, the Utes host Oregon (Sept. 16), Cal Poly (Sept. 20) and Washington (Sept. 22). The four-game homestand spans eight days.
"We have a fun home schedule," Manning added. "Our local soccer fans will see quality action. I am especially excited about opening at home with a replay of our thriller last fall in the NCAA's with Idaho State. It will be an exciting fall at Ute Soccer Field."
Utah opens Mountain West Conference action on the road at UNLV on Oct. 11. The Utes' first league action at home is slated for Oct. 18 against Air Force. The 2007 Mountain West Conference Tournament will be hosted by BYU and held Nov. 7-10 in Provo, Utah.
"Four of our opponents made the NCAA's last fall," Manning said. "However, we are facing several teams that have been building and are poised to have breakthrough seasons. I expect all four of the Pac-10 teams on our schedule to be in the thick of the playoff hunt. And we have teams that will challenge for major conference championships in the Big 12 (Colorado), Big West (Cal Poly, Long Beach State) and West Coast Conference (Pepperdine)."