Home field advantage has a new meaning for the Idaho women’s soccer team.
Weeks after the athletic department announced a transition indoors for the upcoming season, the team announced its 19-game schedule, which includes a program-high 11 home games.
“The 2017 fall season is going to be an exciting time for our players and fans,” head coach Derek Pittman said in a news release. “Not only are we celebrating the 20th season for our program, we are also making history by being the first NCAA soccer team to play all of its games indoors.”
The Vandals completed their home schedule at Guy Wicks Field last year, before subpar field conditions and drainage issues forced the team to find a new venue at the Kibbie Dome.
“The weather in the Palouse will no longer be an excuse to not come out to support our championship program,” Pittman said in the release. “We expect our loyal fans to be even more passionate than ever as we make the (Kibbie) Dome one of the most feared venues in the nation.”
The announced schedule pits Idaho against three programs which competed in the 2016 NCAA College Cup, including home meetings with Memphis and Seattle U.
“We are excited for our players and fans to host so many quality opponents from top conferences across the Midwest and West Coast,” Pittman said. “Every one of our non-conference matches will be a tough test for our players and will provide us with the preparation we need to challenge for another Big Sky Conference Championship.”
The team opens its schedule with a rivalry matchup Aug. 25 against Boise State, marking the first ever indoor match for the Vandals. The conference schedule includes 10 Big Sky matches, including an Oct. 27 meeting with Eastern Washington to conclude the season.
“The Big Sky teams continue to improve each and every year, so our challenge is to continue earning our place at the top of our conference and challenging for an NCAA tournament bid,” Pittman said.
Idaho boasts a 16-1-3 record against Big Sky opponents over the previous two years.
“We have had a great spring and feel our young team is carrying a lot of confidence and belief into next season,” Pittman said.
Josh Grissom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org