Postseason berth becomes increasingly harder with addition of two new Big Sky teams
The Eastern Washington University women's soccer team released its 2012 schedule, which features eight home matches and nine on the road, plus one exhibition game against the Cougars of Washington State to open the season.
Following the scrimmage in Pullman on Aug. 17, Eastern will make its official season debut at home on Aug. 24 against North Dakota State. The team then heads out on a five-game road swing, where it will face familiar opponents in Seattle, Wyoming and Boise State, as well as 2011 NCAA Tournament participant Utah State.
In its final two tune ups before conference, EWU hosts Idaho on Sept. 14 and Hawaii on the 16th. The last time Eastern played UH was back in 2001 in Cheney, where EWU prevailed 2-1 in a thrilling overtime battle.
Eastern will play nine Big Sky Conference games this season, starting with two at home against Weber State and Idaho State on Sept. 21 and 23, respectively.
The ultimate goal is to win enough of these nine league games to qualify for the Big Sky Conference Championship, held the first week of November at the site of the regular-season champion. But with the addition of two new teams to the league, yet no additional spots in the tournament, qualifying for this event will be harder than ever.
The top four teams at the end of the regular season advance to the postseason. Eastern has missed the cut the last two years, but made it in 2009 with those that are seniors on the team this year.
The Eagles play at Sacramento State on Sept. 28, followed by a game against defending co-regular-season champion Portland State on Sept. 30. Eastern will return home to face its newest conference foe, North Dakota on Oct. 5.
Eastern will conclude the regular-season at Southern Utah on Oct. 21 in another first-time Big Sky matchup.