|2013 soccer slate announced|
MOSCOW – Nineteen regular season matches, eight home matches, and a 12-match Western Athletic Conference schedule featuring a home-and-home series with six league opponents makes up the 2013 Idaho soccer schedule, as head coach Pete Showler announced the slate Tuesday.
Before all that takes place, however, the Vandals will welcome Oklahoma to Wicks Field for an exhibition match on Aug. 16, which Showler said will be a good measuring stick for his young team, which will feature 13 newcomers to go along with 13 returnees.
“This year is definitely going to be a rebuilding year with a lot of development,” Showler said. “But the core group coming back can instill in the newcomers a lot of what we have progressed with over the past two or three years. To open up with a Big 12 opposition at home is tremendous. It will be a good way for us to measure what we need to do and how we need to do it prior to going into our first games.”
The Vandals begin the regular season with five straight non-conference road games, beginning at Weber State on Aug. 23 then at Idaho State on Aug. 25. Both schools are future league opponents for Idaho, which joins the Big Sky conference beginning in 2014.
“Starting with two Big Sky oppositions also helps us look at where we need to be for the following year,”
Idaho stays close to home to visit Washington State on Aug. 30, then travels to North Dakota State (Sept. 6) and Creighton (Sept. 8) before its home opener.
“We’ve got some quality opposition,” Showler said. “It’s striking a balance between some very high level teams, and some teams that we should be competing with on a day-to-day basis, and learning from each and every part of those games.”
The Vandals open a five-match home-stand on Sept. 13 when Eastern Washington visits Wicks Field, before hosting UNLV on Sept. 15 in their final non-conference match.
Idaho has WAC home matches against Grand Canyon (Sept. 22), New Mexico State (Sept. 27), UMKC (Sept. 29), CSU Bakersfield (Oct. 18), Utah Valley (Oct. 20) and Seattle U (Nov. 3). The Vandals will also visit each of those six WAC opponents for a 12-match WAC schedule.
“The thing with that is we can take the first game, and whatever we get from that, win, lose or draw, we can learn for the next game,” Showler said of the league format. “I’d like to see it more often. The important part is for us to try to make the tournament, and with such a young group, be part of that learning process throughout the season.”
The WAC tournament begins Nov. 8 in Las Cruces, N.M., and the league’s top four teams will qualify.