Utah State's head soccer coach Heather Cairns announced the 2012 soccer schedule on Tuesday. The Aggies will play a total of 19 matches in 2012, including one against a team that competed in the 2011 Women's College Cup.
The Aggies will hold one exhibition match prior to the start of the season, hosting Southern Utah on Aug. 11 at 2 p.m. For the fourth-straight season, Utah State will play a match at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, home of Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake squad.
USU is 3-0 at its unofficial home away from home, going 2-0 against Weber State and 1-0 against Utah. This season, the Aggies will take on Utah on Aug. 17. The Utes will be the host squad for this match. Last season, the Aggies used a Shantel Flanary goal to propel them over Weber State, 1-0.
Utah State will play its first match at the friendly confines of Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field on Aug. 19 against former Western Athletic squad UTEP. The Miners are one of 12 schools that USU will play this season that either have been or are currently members of the WAC. This will be the first meeting between the Aggies and the Miners since Utah State beat UTEP, 2-0, in 2008.
Following the single match at home, Utah State will travel to Omaha, Neb., to take on Creighton on Aug. 24 and Nebraska-Omaha on Aug. 26. The Aggies will round out the first month of the season, facing the first of three teams from the Big Sky Conference when USU hosts Northern Colorado on Aug. 31.
The Aggies will open the second month of the schedule with a season-long three-match road trip that begins at Utah Valley on Sept. 2. The blue and white will then play a pair of matches in Portland, Ore. USU will take on the Big Sky's Eastern Washington on Sept. 7 for the first time since 2007. The Aggies will round out the road trip against another Big Sky foe, Portland State, on Sept. 9.
USU will then return home for a trio of difficult home matches, beginning against Washington on Sept. 13. This will be only the second meeting between the Aggies and the Huskies, with UW beating USU in 2009. The Aggies will then take on in-state rival BYU in Logan on Sept. 20. Utah State will round out the home trip against Wyoming on Sept. 23 to end non-conference action.
The Aggies will open their eighth season in the WAC on the road in Las Cruces, N.M., against New Mexico State. USU is the reigning WAC regular season and tournament champion. Utah State will conclude the month of September in Denver against new WAC member Denver on Sept. 30. The two teams have met twice with both teams capturing one win. They have not met since the 1998 season.
USU will return home to host new WAC members UTSA (University Texas at San Antonio) on Oct. 5. The Aggies will then take on Texas State, another new WAC member, on Oct. 7. The Aggies are 1-0-1 all-time against the Bobcats, last meeting in 2008. Texas State advanced to the 2011 Women's College Cup.
Utah State will hit the road on Oct. 12 to take on Seattle. The Redhawks are the last of four new WAC teams that the Aggies will take on this season. USU will end the road trip on Oct. 14 against Idaho.
Utah State will close out the regular season with a pair of home matches. The Aggies will take on San Jose State on Oct. 19 and end the regular season against Louisiana Tech on Oct. 26.
For the first time since Utah State joined the WAC in 2006, the WAC Soccer Tournament will be held in Logan, Utah, Oct. 31-Nov. 4. Last season, the Aggies won their first WAC Tournament.
USU will return seven starters and 18 letter winners from last year's squad that ended a historic season with a 15-5-2 record. USU finished with a 5-1-1 WAC record en route to its third WAC regular-season title in four years. Utah State also won its first WAC Tournament title and advanced to its first NCAA Tournament.
Leading the Aggies next year will be two-time WAC Defensive Player of the Year Natalie Norris. Offensively, midfielder Kendra Pemberton is the top returning scorer, ending last season with seven goals and nine assists for 23 points.
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