10 Home Games, Five NCAA Squads Highlight 2006 Soccer Slate
June 7, 2006
FRESNO, Calif.- Fresno State's 2006 soccer schedule features four teams that played in the 2005 NCAA Tournament in addition to 10 regular-season home matches, the most for the program since the Bulldogs played at home 11 times in 2000.
Fresno State will play road games at Florida, Utah and BYU- all NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago. The fourth NCAA Tournament squad, UC Riverside, will pay a visit to Bulldog Stadium for a non-conference game in late September.
The Bulldogs will also play 10 regular-season home matches, with six of those coming against non-conference opponents. Seven WAC games highlight the month of October, with four of those taking place at home.
"Our 2006 schedule is one of the toughest in recent memory," said head coach Steve Springthorpe, who enters his third season. "The non-conference schedule will prepare us well for WAC play, and that is important in helping us accomplish our goals of winning a conference title and advancing to the NCAA Tournament. Over half of our games will be played at home, giving fans an opportunity to come out and show their support."
In 2005, Fresno State (10-10-2) posted its first overall record of .500 or better since 2000, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in school history. Despite entering the conference tournament as a No. 5 seed, Fresno State posted three consecutive wins in as many days to capture its first-ever WAC Tournament title.
Fresno State starts the 2006 campaign by hosting a pair of exhibition matches, beginning with an Aug. 18 date against crosstown rival Fresno Pacific. The Bulldogs open their season at home for the second straight year with an Aug. 25 contest against San Francisco before hosting Cal State Northridge two days later.
Fresno State then begins arguably its toughest stretch of the year with four consecutive road games. The Bulldogs embark on a two-game Florida road trip during the first week of September that includes matches against Florida (13-6-1 overall, 2005 NCAA Tournament) and Central Florida (12-10 overall, Conference USA regular season co-champion).
One week later, the challenging road swing continues with matches at Utah (14-7-1 overall, 2005 Mountain West regular season champions) and BYU (15-2-4 overall). Utah has qualified for the last four NCAA Tournaments while BYU is coming off its best season in school history that included a 4-0 record against top-25 teams and an NCAA Tournament berth.
The next four games (Portland State, Sacramento State, Pacific and UC Riverside) are all at home, with 2005 NCAA Tournament entrant UC Riverside figuring to be a key opponent on Sept. 22. Two days later, Fresno State travels to Cal Poly, one of five Big West foes on the ledger.
The WAC slate begins with a home game against Nevada on Oct. 6. After stepping out of league play to face Long Beach State on Oct. 11, Fresno State returns to Bulldog Stadium for a two-game homestand against Idaho and Boise State.
Conference action resumes on Oct. 20, as Fresno State kicks off a three-game road swing that includes matches against Louisiana Tech, Utah State and rival San Jose State. The Bulldogs will be playing in Ruston, La., and Logan, Utah for the first time.
The regular season concludes with a Senior Day battle against defending regular-season WAC champion Hawai'i on Oct. 29 at Bulldog Stadium. The WAC Tournament is scheduled for Nov. 2-5, with the host site to be determined.