PROVO, Utah (Thursday, May 21, 2015) – BYU women’s soccer will play another nationally competitive schedule as it prepares to defend its three-straight West Coast Conference championships and return to the NCAA tournament for the fourth consecutive season in 2015.
The Cougars have six NCAA tournament teams from last year on the schedule this fall and another eight teams that also had winning records. BYU will play teams from the Big Ten, Big West, Mountain West and half the teams in the Pac-12.
“Our program is always committed to playing a nationally competitive schedule and we look forward to the challenges that the fall 2015 season will bring,” BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “Our nonconference schedule will have us matched up against some very prominent soccer programs in the country and will help in our preparation to defend our three-straight WCC titles. We have high expectations for 2015 and this schedule will provide us the opportunity to reach our highest potential.”
The Cougars will begin the year with the intrasquad Blue/White scrimmage on Aug. 11 followed by an exhibition game against Pac-12 opponent Arizona on Aug. 15 at South Field.
A trip to Hawaii will provide the opportunity to play Pac-12 powers Cal and Stanford on a neutral field Aug. 21 and 24 in the Outrigger Resorts Soccer Classic. Stanford was a No. 1 seed in last year’s NCAA tournament and lost in the national semifinals to eventual national champion Florida State.
The regular season home opener will be a big game against Colorado who has eliminated the Cougars from the NCAA tournament each of the past two seasons. The last time the Buffs came to Provo, BYU set an attendance record at South Field which stood for six years.
Cal, Stanford and Colorado were three of the top five teams in the Pac-12 and are three of seven Power 5 teams the Cougars will play.
BYU will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, on Aug. 31 to face the Huskers in their brand new facility. BYU beat Nebraska in their last meeting in 2013 before the Huskers went on to win the Big Ten regular season and tournament championship.
A four-game homestand begins September for BYU as the Cougars will host rival Utah on Sept. 4. Each of the past three games against the Utes have ended in 1-0 victories for the home team. Utah State visits on Sept. 10 for the first time since BYU’s 2012 NCAA tournament first round victory. UNLV comes to South Field on Sept. 12 and the final Pac-12 opponent on the schedule Oregon State visits on Sept. 24.
The Cougars end their nonconference schedule with a road trip to California where they will take on last year’s Big West runner-up Cal Poly on Sept. 24 before facing perennial contender Long Beach State on Sept. 26.
BYU will try for its fourth straight WCC title when conference play begins in October. The four-peat has only occurred three times in WCC play with Portland accomplishing it twice from 1994 to 1997 and 2007 to 2010 and Santa Clara winning four straight from 2001 to 2004. The Cougars get out of the gate on the road with Gonzaga on Oct. 1 and Portland on Oct. 3. The Pilots missed the NCAA tournament last year for the first time in 14 years.
South Field will host San Diego on Oct. 9 and Pacific on Oct. 17 before the Cougars finish their conference road schedule at San Francisco on Oct. 22 and at Santa Clara on Oct. 24.
A three-game homestand finishes the conference slate with Pepperdine on Oct. 29, LMU on Oct. 31 and Saint Mary’s on Nov. 7.
In conjunction with the schedule release, BYU athletics and the Cougar IMG Sports Network are pleased to announce an arrangement with ESPN 960 to carry an expanded slate of BYU women’s soccer matches to local radio listeners in 2015.
Including exhibition broadcasts, at least 18 of BYU’s 21 scheduled matches will air on ESPN 960, in addition to live streams available on BYUCougars.com and the BYU Cougars app. ESPN 960 will also stream the matches over its website platform.
“BYU is perennially one of the top-five attendance draws in NCAA women’s soccer, and I could not be more excited to have ESPN 960 serve as the radio home of such a powerhouse program,” General Manager of ESPN 700 and ESPN 960 Kayvon Motiee said. “We are equally as thrilled to have Greg Wrubell calling these games on our airwaves.”
ESPN 960 is “Utah County’s sports station,” and is also the on-air home of BYU baseball, UVU men’s basketball and the popular daily sports talk show, “Cougar Sports with Ben Criddle.”
“We couldn’t be more excited and honored to begin our partnership with ESPN 960,” Rockwood said. “It is a tremendous step for the recognition and coverage of women’s college soccer and specifically our BYU program. The exposure that ESPN 960 adds will help to bring the love of the game to more local fans.”
This fall marks the second season of radio play-by-play coverage for the BYU women’s soccer program. Last year, the Cougar IMG Sports Network debuted its soccer broadcasts with coverage of 13 exhibition and regular season matches.
“I look forward to bringing the excitement of BYU women’s soccer to even more Cougar fans through this new partnership with ESPN 960,” the ’Voice of the Cougars’ Greg Wrubell said. “I’m happy that our inaugural season of radio play-by-play was so well received, and I couldn’t be more excited to expand our coverage by broadcasting an increased number of matches to an even greater audience. Coach Rockwood has put together a tremendous team and the 2015 season should be a special one. I can’t wait to get back on the headset.”
Wrubell will be joined on the broadcasts by former BYU men’s soccer player and coach Hugh Van Wagenen, and former BYU women’s soccer player Colette Smith, both of whom return for a second season of color commentary.
“We are also very fortunate to continue our relationship with Greg Wrubell who has brought a whole new level of exposure to the college soccer scene,” Rockwood said. “Greg does a tremendous job in covering our program and players at the highest level and we can’t wait to have him involved with even more coverage this year.”
The first Cougar IMG Sports Network broadcast on ESPN 960 will be the annual Blue-White exhibition match on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at South Field. Additionally, coach Rockwood and Wrubell will team to make regular appearances on ESPN 960, discussing the BYU women’s soccer program and introducing listeners to BYU players through in-studio interviews.
Additional radio and television broadcasts will be announced at a later date.