|Soccer Sets 2014 Schedule|
MOSCOW, Idaho—The University of Idaho soccer team will play 20 matches in 2014, head coach Derek Pittman announced on Tuesday. The Vandals will match up with teams from the Big 12, Mountain West, West Coast Conference and the Pac-12 before entering Big Sky conference play.
Idaho will play nine home matches on Guy Wicks Field in 2014. Regional opponents, including Eastern Washington, Boise State and Washington State highlight the non-conference home schedule. The Vandals will open on the road Friday, Aug. 22 against former Western Athletic Conference rival Seattle U.
“I think this schedule gives us a really good balance,” Pittman said. “The non-conference schedule gives us a good look at different types of teams, styles and conferences. It will really test our players in not only the physical and technical abilities but also the mental side of things.”
Aug. 24 the Vandals will have their first home contest when Texas Christian makes its first ever visit to Moscow to complete the opening weekend. Idaho will remain home on Friday, Aug. 29 to take on Eastern Washington before hitting the road to take on Gonzaga (Aug. 31).
The Silver and Gold kick-off September with a visit from Boise State (Sept. 5). It is the first fall matchup between the two rivals since 2010 when both schools were members of the WAC.
“Anytime we can play them [Boise State] as an in-state rival is exciting for us,” Pittman added. “We have built a good relationship with their coaching staff and hopefully that game will continue each and every year. It is exciting and something our players and school will be excited to play every time we get the opportunity.”
Idaho heads to California on Sept. 12 to take on St. Mary’s before returning home to play Washington State on Sept. 14. The Vandals travel to Arizona on Sept. 19 to play Grand Canyon and close out the trip on Sept. 21 against Arizona in Tucson. The Vandals close the regular season at Illinois State Thursday, Oct. 30.
Idaho will play its first Big Sky games on Sept. 26, 28. The Vandals will play host to Northern Colorado and North Dakota, respectively. The Vandals will host three additional conference opponents in Northern Arizona, 2013 Big Sky champions Weber State and in-state foe Idaho State.
The first conference road match will be at Southern Utah, Friday, Oct. 3. The Vandals will be on the road at Montana, Eastern Washington, Sacramento State and Portland State.
“I think there is a lot of parity in our conference,” Pittman commented. “There is no doubt that teams like Portland State, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, Weber State and Idaho State have taken some really positive steps forward over the last three years. What is exciting is there have been five different conference tournament champions over the last five years. I feel like the conference is pretty wide open and there is an opportunity for us to go in there and make some noise right off the bat”
The Big Sky tournament begins Nov. 6, hosted by the regular season champion. The top six teams in the regular season standings will qualify for tournament. The winner of the championship will represent the Big Sky in the NCAA College Cup.