Courtesy of Northern Illinois Athletic Sports Information
DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois women's soccer released its 18-match regular season schedule Thursday, a slate that features nine contests at the NIU Soccer Complex in the Huskies 20th season as a program. The Huskies will also play five of the Illinois' Division I programs in Head Coach John Ross' first season.
"I like where our schedule is right now and it will definitely test us and we can benefit a lot from what we have on our plate," said Ross, "It's definitely a good level of competition for us to be playing at."
The Huskies will play a pair of friendly matches, on the road and at home, during preseason camp when they head to Valparaiso Aug. 8 and host IPFW four days later (Aug. 12). On Aug. 17 NIU will begin the regular season on the road when it faces Drake at 7 p.m. followed by a match at SIU-Edwardsville Aug. 19.
Ross elaborated on the preseason register and said "It's nice to have two early exhibition games before we open up at Drake. I think the two exhibitions will really give us a chance to get our feet wet and gel as a team. The opener against Drake will be a good test and great environment for us to play in."
NIU return's to action two weeks later for its home opener against Illinois State Aug. 31 and will also host Loyola Sept. 2. Said matches will begin at 4 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively, at the NIU Soccer Complex.
The following weekend, Sept. 7, the Huskies will head to Northwestern for their first match against the Wildcats since Sept. 15, 2006, a 3-1 loss for NIU. "We'll have a good opportunity to take on a Big-10 opponent in Northwestern, which is always a good measuring stick to see where we are at," added Ross.
At home on Sept. 16, Northern Illinois will have its first ever meeting with South Dakota, who is still in its five-year transition since moving to the Division I level from Division II. The Coyotes are the only team on this year's schedule that the Huskies have never previously met.
Friday Sept. 21, Northern Illinois will kickoff its 16th Mid-American Conference season when it hosts Eastern Michigan at 4 p.m. The Huskies lone midweek match of 2012 will be the regular season finale at Toledo Thursday Oct. 25, as the MAC Tournament begins three days later, Oct. 28, with home sites awarded to the top-four tournament qualifiers.
All home matches are free to students, fans and the general public.
For more news and updates on Northern Illinois women's soccer, check back with NIUHuskies.com or follow the team on Facebook at "Northern Illinois University Women's Soccer" or on Twitter @NIUAthletics.
The Northern Illinois women's soccer program, now celebrating it's 20th year in existence, is the oldest soccer program in the Mid-American Conference. NIU began play in 1993, while Eastern Michigan and Toledo started programs two seasons later (1995).