Aug. 13 — Mount Royal (Kibbie Dome)
Idaho women’s soccer kicks off the 2017 with an opening game against Mount Royal. The Cougars finished the 2016 season 4-6-4, finishing 5th in the Prairie division of Canada West Conference.
Aug. 18 — UC Santa Barbara (Harder Stadium)
The Vandals begin their two-game road trip against the UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos dominated the regular season, taking down big-name teams like Fresno State and UNLV, finishing 11-6-2. The Gauchos averaged almost three points in games they won, which will stack up interestingly against Idaho head coach’s Derek Pittman’s defense-oriented style.
Aug. 20 — UC Riverside (UC Riverside Soccer Stadium)
The trend of playing UC teams continues, this time it Riverside. The Highlanders did not dominate the pitch quite like Santa Barbara, finishing 5-10-4 in 2016.
Aug. 25 — Boise State (Kibbie Dome)
The matchup of the year come to Moscow, as Idaho’s long-lost rival looks to secure a victory against the Vandals. A year ago, the Vandals defeated the Broncos 1-0 in the regular season, but ended in a 0-0 tie in the spring. The Broncos ended their season in the middle of the pack of the Mountain West Conference with a 5-3-3 record. Idaho athletics will look to bring a record size crowd to cheer on the Silver and Gold, with 5,000 attendees being the goal.
Aug. 27 — Saint Mary’s (Kibbie Dome)
Following a tough rivalry game, Idaho will welcome Saint Mary’s for a second consecutive home game. The Gaels tied 0-0 with the Vandals in 2016, despite finishing the regular season 5-13-2.
Sep. 1 — Hawaii (Kibbie Dome)
The Hawaii Warriors got the best of the Vandals in 2016 during the Hawaii tournament near the start of the season. The Warriors bested Idaho 2-0, but could not maintain the momentum during the rest of the season and finished 9-6-2, with a three-loss streak down the stretch.
Sep. 4 — Seattle U (Kibbie Dome)
One of Idaho’s tougher opponents pays a visit to the Kibbie Dome, closing out the Vandals’ four consecutive home games. The Redhawks finished 2016 with a bang, 14-6-1 with a 7-0 record in the Western Athletic Conference. Idaho, who has snagged the best regular season record in the Big Sky two years in a row, will not get past such a formidable team easily. However, the Vandals did defeat the Redhawks 2-0 in 2016 in Seattle, and will have a home advantage heading in to 2017 contest.
Sep. 8 — Oregon (Papé Field)
Probably the biggest name on Idaho’s schedule, the Oregon Ducks will play host to Idaho. The Ducks were certainly not the powerhouse of the PAC-12 in 2016, finishing the 2016 season 8-10-2 and 10th in their conference. However, Oregon should not be taken lightly, as a much tougher schedule most likely masked the team’s talent.
Sep. 15 — Memphis (Kibbie Dome)
The Vandals return to Moscow to take on Memphis. The Tigers finished 2016 14-5-1, coming up just short of taking the American Conference crown.
Sep. 17 — Nevada (Kibbie Dome)
Nevada will become the second Mountain West team to pay a visit to Idaho. Nevada, unlike Boise State, never made a serious impact in the conference in 2016, finishing 5-13 and next to last in the standings.
Sep. 22 — Northern Arizona (Kibbie Dome)
Idaho opens Big Sky competition against Northern Arizona. The Lumberjacks proved tougher than most, reaching a 10-7-5 record and a third-place finish in the Big Sky. In 2016, the Vandals and Lumberjacks came to a tie in a thrilling 2-2 match in double overtime.
Sep. 24 — Sacramento State (Kibbie Dome)
There’s no rest for the Vandals, as Sacramento State comes to the Kibbie Dome for yet another home match. The Hornets finished 2016 a step behind Idaho in the regular season with an 8-7-4 record. In the Big Sky tournament, the second seeded Hornets fell to Northern Arizona. Despite this, Idaho still stream-rolled Sacramento State in 2016, winning 5-1 on the Hornet’s home pitch.
Sep. 29 — Southern Utah (Thunderbird Soccer Field)
Idaho goes on the road to take on the South Utah Thunderbirds. Another Big Sky opponent, the Thunderbirds did not make a splash in 2016, concluding their run second to last in the conference with a 3-12-2 record.
Oct. 6 — Northern Colorado (Jackson Stadium)
Idaho takes another trip down south, this time to compete against the Northern Colorado Bears. The Bears fell to the Vandals 2-0 in2016, and finished in the middle of the Big Sky pack with a 10-8-2 record.
Oct. 8 — North Dakota (Bronson Field)
North Dakota finished in the basement of the Big Sky
in 2016. The Vandals had no trouble flying past the Fighting Hawks a year ago, winning 5-1.
Oct. 13 — Montana (Kibbie Dome)
Montana failed to make a run in the Big Sky tournament last year, falling to the eventual champion Eastern Washington. However, the Grizzlies did put together an impressive season, finishing fourth in the conference but lost to Idaho 4-1.
Oct. 15 — Portland State (Kibbie Dome)
The Vandals defeated the Portland State Vikings in 2016 2-1. The Vikings failed to make an impact in the Big Sky, and will likely not pose any threat to Idaho in 2017.
Oct. 20 — Weber State (Stewart Stadium)
Much like Portland State, the Weber State Wildcats failed to gain any traction in the Big Sky last season, finishing 5-10-2.
Oct. 22 — Idaho State (Davis Field)
Idaho’s second in-state rival makes an appearance in 2017, but a game against the Bengals will have greater implications in Big Sky play. Idaho State struggled down the stretch last year, failing to break into the top half of the conference. The Vandals defeated the Bengals with ease that season in a 3-0 romp.
Oct.27—Eastern Washington (Kibbie Dome)
The season finale against Eastern Washington should be a good one. The Eagles proved to be unpredictable in 2016, finishing 13-5-4 but only earning the fourth seed in the Big Sky tournament. The Eagles then went on to win the tournament, beating Montana and Idaho. This matchup could be a preview into the upcoming Big Sky championship.
Brandon Hill can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @brandonmtnhill