The BYU women’s soccer program is preparing for one of the toughest seasons – on paper – in program history. The Cougars will face teams from the SEC, Pac 12, Big Ten and ACC and will play the defending national champions Penn State.
But the Cougars aren’t worried; they’re excited.
“We’ve always tried to challenge ourselves in order to better prepare for WCC and potential postseason play,” said BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood. “We look forward to the opportunity of playing such a competitive non-conference schedule.”
The team echoed the sentiments of their head coach.
Senior forward Ashley Hatch said the team couldn’t be more thrilled for the opportunities that 2016 brings.
“We’re excited for the upcoming season,” Hatch said in an email. “We’re ready for the challenge and are working hard every day, knowing that we need to be at our best every game.”
The Cougars’ regular season begins on Aug. 19, and in a one-week span the team will play Washington State and Penn State on the road and Nebraska at home. Those three teams combined to go 46-16-2 last season.
Junior defender Taylor Campbell Isom said the team is using the tough opening as a motivator.
“We are very motivated to prove that we are one of the best teams in the country,” Campbell Isom said in an email. “In order to do that, you have to beat the best. There are 28 girls on the team this year and all of us share the same goal and are anxious to give 100 percent in each game we play.”
Still, the team is well aware of the test that lies ahead of them.
“We will be tested both at home and particularly on the road,” Rockwood said. “Matches against UCLA, Washington State, Penn State, Utah and Ohio State will force us to strive and compete at a higher level than in the past.”
The BYU women’s soccer season begins in August. The team will host a blue and white game on Aug. 6 and an alumni game on Aug. 9 before heading to Los Angeles for an exhibition clash with UCLA on Aug. 13.
The team is already counting down for the opening whistle.
“Our schedule is one of the hardest BYU women’s soccer has had, and we are counting down the days to our first game,” Campbell Isom said in an email.
Senior goal keeper Rachel Boaz shared Campbell Isom’s opinions.
“I wouldn’t want anything different or less challenging,” Boaz said. “To be our best we must play the best and rise above the challenge.”
BYU women’s soccer begins on August 19th and ends on November 5th. Ticket information can be found at byutickets.com. Tickets can be purchased at the same site or at the Smith Fieldhouse box office.