BOISE, Idaho –
The Boise State women's soccer team announced its 2018 schedule, Monday, which will include 10 home games (one of which will be an exhibition) and 10 road contests.
"We've moved towards a scheduling model that will prepare us for Mountain West competition," head coach Jim Thomas
said. "The priority is trying to win both the regular season conference title and the conference tournament, so we purposely scheduled opponents and road trips in our nonconference schedule that will imitate what we'll face in conference play."
The Blue and Orange will open play at the Boas Soccer Complex in a home exhibition against Northwest Nazarene, set for Friday, Aug. 17 at 5 p.m. The regular season will then officially start, Sunday, Aug. 19, with a home match against in-state rival Idaho at 1 p.m.
The Broncos will kick off their first weekend away from home with a Southern California road swing at UC Santa Barbara (Friday, Aug. 24) and Cal Poly (Sunday, Aug. 26). UCSB finished 11-6-2 last season while Boise State will be looking to avenge a 1-0 defeat to Cal Poly from 2017.
The following weekend will see the Broncos open up on the road at Eastern Washington (Friday, Aug. 31), but will return home, Sunday, Sept. 2, and face another Big Sky opponent in Southern Utah at 1 p.m. EWU decisively won the Big Sky last season with a 16-6-1 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament where they fell No. 3 USC in overtime. Boise State excelled last season in its match against Southern Utah, taking down the Thunderbirds 5-1 at home.
The team will then face another challenging road trip with games at Arizona (Friday, Sept. 7) and at New Mexico State (Sunday, Sept. 9). The Wildcats finished last season with an 11-5-4 record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament while the Aggies wrapped up 2017 with a 9-10-2 record.
"While we want to prepare for the Mountain West, we want to keep an eye on the rest of the world," Thomas said on the Arizona game. "Are we developing and molding our players to compete against teams who will be NCAA Tournament teams? Playing bona fide top-50, top-25 teams can show your team where you're at. They are very good, very athletic, and it should be a great challenge."
Boise State showed an ability to hang with big-name teams last seasons, as it logged just its third win ever over a team from a Power Five conference last season in defeating Oklahoma, 1-0 (Sept. 3, 2017).
The non-conference slate will wrap up with a home game against Idaho State, Sunday, Sept. 16, at 1 p.m. back at Boas.
Mountain West play will see the Broncos open at home (Friday, Sept. 21) at 4 p.m. with a match against Nevada. The back end of the weekend will see the team head out on the road to face UNLV with the matchup set for Sunday, Sept. 23.
The Blue and Orange will return home for games against Colorado State (Friday, Sept. 28 – 4 p.m.) and Wyoming (Sunday, Sept. 30 – 1 p.m.) to close out the month of September.
Boise State will embark on an extended four-game road trip in the beginning of October with games at New Mexico (Oct. 5), San Diego State (Oct. 7), Air Force (Oct. 12) and Colorado College (Oct. 14).
The end of the MW slate will then balance out with a three-game home stand at Boas. The Northern California teams of Fresno State and San Jose State will come to the Treasure Valley and play Friday, Oct. 19 at 4 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m., respectively.
Since San Jose State won the 2017 regular season conference title, San Jose, Calif., will be the host site for the 2018 Mountain West Tournament, which is set to take place from Oct. 30 – Nov. 4.
The Broncos will be looking to improve upon a 13-6-3 record in 2017 season that resulted in a third-place finish in the regular season along with an appearance in the semifinals of the conference tournament.
The team returns 74 percent of its scoring from last season, including rising junior Raimee Sherle
– the 2017 Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year. Sherle tied the MW record for goals (18) and points (42) last season in what was the best individual offensive season for a Bronco in program history.
In total, the team's 20 returners will be joined by eight newcomers.
"The Boise community can expect a motivated, driven group of girls who have high expectations for this team," Thomas said. "Our leadership is challenging our group to be better than ever before, and we have made some sacrifices to continue to grow as a program. This group really cares, and we are bleeding blue now more than ever."