After a successful season last year, which saw the Weber State University women’s soccer team nearly reach the NCAA Tournament, the team is now preparing for a new season.

The team announced its game schedule for the 2012-13 school year last week.

[media-credit name=”The Signpost” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]The newly released schedule for the Wildcats includes nine matches against opposing teams in the newly expanded Big Sky Conference, as well as many non-conference opportunities to prove their worth.

“In a lot of ways, this is the same schedule that we usually have,” said WSU Coach Tim Crompton. “We want to play quality teams, teams that will push us to get better, and I think we accomplished that.”

The Wildcats will begin their 2012 season with an opener against the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes in Tulsa, Okla., on Aug. 17. The team will then travel to Stillwater, Okla., to face the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Aug. 19. The Cowboys closed the 2011 season with a record of 22-2-2 and a top-five NCAA ranking.

Before beginning their conference play, the Wildcats will come home to Ogden for a three-game set against the University of Wyoming on Aug. 26. They will continue with a match against the University of Utah on Sept. 1 and one against Utah Valley University on Sept. 5.

Following three other non-conference matches against the University of Texas El Paso, New Mexico State University and the University of Nevada in September, the Wildcats will begin their Big Sky Conference play facing off against Eastern Washington University on Sept. 21 in Cheney, Wash.

Because of an expansion in the Big Sky Conference this year, the Wildcats have nine games scheduled against Big Sky opponents, compared to the seven matches they had scheduled the previous year. The WSU team will also see five of its conference matches at home, with nine home games overall this season, a possible advantage after having only four home matches overall during 2011.

“It is important to play at home; sometimes you have to learn to win at home, as well as on the road,” Crompton said. “I like the balance that our schedule has.”

The Wildcats are coming off a 2011 season record of 6-10-3 overall, with a conference record of four wins, two losses and one tie. The team advanced to the Big Sky Conference Tournament, where they defeated Portland State University in the semifinals on Nov. 4 after matching up 4-3 in penalty kicks. The women’s soccer team then advanced to the tournament championship, where it faced the University of Montana. The team fought through regular time, two overtime periods, and lost to UM after going 3-4 in another penalty shootout.

Returning to the WSU soccer team this year are Bailey Eames, Kendra Bailey, Ryann Waldman, Mackenzie Day, Ryley Hansen and Felicia Sortor, all having received Big Sky honors during the 2011 season.

Overall, 13 players will be back for WSU. In addition, Crompton has signed 14 new freshmen to the team, which is the largest signing class for the soccer team in school history.

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