By Loni Ekins

    The BYU women”s soccer team kicks back into action this weekend as they travel to Seattle, Wash. for the Husky/Nike Invitational.

    The Cougars will face No. 11 University of Washington on Friday and No. 4 ranked Portland on Saturday. Both games are scheduled for 8 p.m. The BYU/Washington game will air tape delay on Fox Sports North West on Sat., Sept. 22 at 4 p.m. PT.

    After a week of rest due to cancelled games, the women”s soccer team faces their toughest challenge of the season, according to head coach Jennifer Rockwood.

    Rockwood said Washington would be returning several players from last seasons No. 2 ranked team. The Cougars plan to revenge last year”s 0-1 loss to the Huskies.

    “We had opportunities to beat them last year,” Rockwood said. “We will have to play good soccer – our best soccer of the year – but if we do, we can win.”

    Washington”s freshman forward Jaime Carstensen will have to be contained by BYU to end the Huskies 4-0 streak.

    “They (Washington) have not had a real competitive schedule. We have played some solid teams so hopefully that will give us the edge,” Rockwood said.

    The Portland Pilots will also be starting freshman phenomenon Christine Sinclair. Sinclair plays on the Canadian Women”s National Team and will be a key element to beating Portland according to Rockwood.

    Portland was ranked No. 4 preseason and handed BYU a loss in overtime in last year”s 2-1 match-up.

    The Pilots had the best defense BYU saw last year. Portland will be returning all their starters.

    However Rockwood has high hopes for the Cougars. BYU will have their own All-American, Aleisha Cramer, who plays for the U.S. Women”s National Team, returning to the starting lineup.

    “We have had some excellent practices,” Rockwood said. “We are a young team so we will be seeing people in different places. This will hopefully jump start our offense.”

    Rockwood said BYU”s asset, as a possession team, will be a benefit this weekend. “We keep possession of the ball and knock it around more than other teams,” she said.

    “We are building our own identity as a team. It”s a new team with new people,” Rockwood said. “We have had three shutouts in four games so hopefully our defense will continue to do a great job this weekend,” Rockwood said.

    The Cougars are currently 3-1 and hope to better their record this weekend.

    “We are looking forward to playing two great teams and we have an opportunity to really make a statement for our season,” Rockwood said.

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