Five of Utah's 10 regular-season home games will be played under the lights in 2006. Utah also hosts the 2006 MWC Tournament.
May 18, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah women's soccer team will navigate perhaps its toughest schedule ever in 2006 with 10 games against teams that reached the 2005 NCAA Tournament. Ute head coach Rich Manning announced the complete 2006 schedule today.
The Utes return nine starters and 18 letterwinners from last year's team that went 14-7-1, won the Mountain West Conference regular season championship with an undefeated record and advanced to its fourth consecutive the NCAA Tournament.
Utah's 10-game home schedule features match-ups against six NCAA Tournament teams.
"I am excited about the teams that our coming to visit us in Salt Lake City this year," said Manning, named the 2005 MWC Coach of the Year. "Arizona, Washington State, Colorado and Pepperdine are not only very successful programs, but they are also play some of the most entertaining soccer in the country. Fresno State is an up and coming program and we have the local derby with Utah State. And the Mountain West race will be a tight one. Ute fans will see competitive soccer played at a high level."
The Utes open the season in the Santa Clara/adidas Classic, facing Stanford on Friday, Aug. 25 and Santa Clara on Sunday, Aug. 27. The Cardinal made the 2005 NCAA field and the Broncos advanced to the quarterfinals.
Ute Field will be the site of the Utah Fall Classic on Labor Day weekend. Utah plays Washington State on Friday, Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m., preceded by Utah State versus Arizona at 5:00 p.m. On Sunday, Sept. 3, the Aggies take on Washington State at 11:00 a.m. followed by the Utes versus Arizona at 1:30 p.m. The Wildcats moved on to the third round of the NCAA's last season after defeating Utah 1-0 in the first round in Salt Lake City.
Two more NCAA Tournament teams come to Salt Lake City the following weekend. The Utes host Fresno State on Friday, Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Colorado on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 1:00 p.m. The Bulldogs lost in the first round of the NCAA's while the Buffaloes advanced to the second round. It will be the third time in the last three years Utah has faced Colorado.
Utah heads to Big Ten country during the middle of the month, paying at Purdue on Friday, Sept. 15 and at Illinois on Sunday, Sept. 17. The Boilermakers fell in the NCAA's opening round while the Illini lost in the second round to Florida State, which advanced to the national semifinals.
After a road game at Idaho State on Friday, Sept. 22, the Utes open a four-game home stand. Utah State comes to Ute Field on Sunday, Sept. 24 at 1:00 p.m., followed by Pepperdine on Friday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. to close out the nonconference slate. The Waves made it to the third round of the NCAA's last season.
The Utes open Mountain West Conference play against the two other league teams that joined them in postseason play. Utah hosts UNLV on Thursday, Oct. 5 at a time to be determined and archrival BYU on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 1:00 p.m. Utah also hosts conference games against TCU on Friday, Oct. 20 and Wyoming on Friday, Oct. 27 with the kickoff time for both games set for 7:30 p.m. The Wyoming game will be a part of Utah's Alumni Reunion weekend. The Utes' MWC road schedule includes games at Air Force (Oct. 12), New Mexico (Oct. 15) and San Diego State (Oct. 22).
Utah hosts the Mountain West Conference Tournament at Ute Field Nov. 1-4.
"This fall will be a terrific challenge for our team, filled with national powers, road tests, local rivalries and conference showdowns," said Manning. "We have a talented and experienced group returning this fall. They have very high goals and standards for their season. It is important to constantly test ourselves against the nation's best teams so we can reach those goals. This year's schedule will definitely do that."
"Last year, we struggled a bit against some of our nonconference opponents. We lost some very close games, a couple in overtime. However, those losses really toughened us up and we saw the benefits during our undefeated run in conference play. With the right approach, these games will sharpen us for Mountain West Conference play and the NCAA Tournament."
Ute women's soccer season tickets may be purchased at the Rice-Eccles Stadium box office, online at www.UtahTickets.com or by phone at (801) 581-UTIX. Season tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for U. faculty and staff, and $10 for youth. Single game tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for youth. Kids under 12 are admitted free.