Courtesy of NMSU
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico State women’s soccer head coach Freddy Delgado announced the finalized 20-game schedule for his squad’s upcoming season on Thursday.
The 2015 schedule is highlighted by 11 home matches, tying the most home matches for the Aggies in the program’s history and the most since the team also played 11 matches in Las Cruces in 2010. It will be the most matches played at the Soccer Athletic Complex since the Aggies began playing there in 2012.
“We are very excited about our 2015 schedule,” Delgado said. “We are looking forward to competing against new opponents and conferences we have not faced in the past and meeting old foes as well.”
NM State will host both of its rivals, New Mexico and UTEP, at home while also playing five Western Athletic Conference home games. The highlight of the season’s schedule is sure to be the matchup versus the I-25 rival Lobos (Aug. 26), which will be played inside Aggie Memorial Stadium.
It will mark the first time the Aggies return to the stadium since the conclusion of the 2011 season. The NM State program played its first three seasons inside Aggie Memorial, marking a 17-7-3 record.
“One of the highlights of the nonconference schedule is the game versus UNM,” Delgado said. “I hear that when the program first started we played in the stadium and packed it with thousands of fans. We would love to see it packed again with fans cheering us on versus an in-state rival.”
The Aggies are hoping the atmosphere will lead them to their first-ever victory over UNM as they are currently 0-5 against the Lobos. NM State will also try to pick up win number one versus UTEP (Sep. 9) as they come into the season 0-4 against the Miners.
Delgado and the Aggies will face two teams which qualified for last year’s NCAA Tournament as they play WAC foe and reigning conference champion Seattle U (Oct. 11) and Prairie View A&M of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (Sep. 20), both on the road.
Fans will get their first glimpse of this season’s squad after NM State kicks off the season with an exhibition match against Pima Community College from Arizona (Aug. 19), the first of three home matches for the Aggies.
“We open up with an exhibition versus Pima and because we have 16 new players, it is critical they gain some game experience before we open up the regular season,” Delgado said. “We want them to suit up for the first time in front of their home fans and hopefully play out the jitters and butterflies that come with their first collegiate game.”
Sandwiched in between the exhibition match and the UNM match is a battle with Eastern Washington (Aug. 23). It will be the first-ever meeting between the two programs on the pitch. The Eagles are one of two teams on the schedule that NM State will face for the first time, the other being Cal State Northridge.
Eastern Washington is also one of three teams from the Big Sky Conference the Aggies will face this season. After the UNM match NM State visits Big Sky member Idaho (Aug. 28), then heads to California to play Northridge (Aug. 30), before returning home to host the final Big Sky member, Weber State (Sep. 4).
The Aggies continue their homestand by meeting Lamar (Sep. 6) followed by the Miner match. NM State then hits the road to Texas for their final road swing before beginning conference play. The Aggies face Texas State (Sep. 18), the only other team aside from UNM and UTEP that NM State played last season, before heading to Prairie View for the Prairie View A&M match.
“We anticipate some of the nonconference teams to play very similar to some of our WAC opponents,” Delgado said. “Those games will help us prepare for a tough conference schedule.”
The Aggies kick off WAC play with three-straight home matches, beginning with a meeting with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (Sep. 27), formerly the University of Texas Pan American. NM State then hosts Bakersfield (Oct. 2) and Grand Canyon (Oct. 4) in what will be a very busy October as the Aggies play nine matches in the month.
Perhaps the roughest stretch of the month and toughest road test of the season for NM State will be the road trip to face Utah Valley (Oct. 9) and Seattle U (Oct. 11). The Aggies are winless versus both teams, going 0-2-1 against the Wolverines and 0-5 against the defending WAC champions.
“The conference schedule will be demanding,” Delgado said. “We go on the road to play two tough teams in Utah Valley and Seattle and we have Bakersfield and Grand Canyon at home, which I believe will be critical games.”
NM State wraps up the month, and the regular season, with home-and-home matchups versus Chicago State and Missouri-Kansas City and a rematch against the newly formed UTRGV Vaqueros. The Aggies play the Cougars (Oct. 16) and the ‘Roos (Oct. 18) in Las Cruces before heading out to Chicago (Oct. 23) and Kansas City (Oct. 25). The regular season ends for NM State on Halloween night in Edinburg, Texas, versus UTRGV.
“Overall, it is a difficult schedule, but it will ultimately prepare us for a good run in the WAC Tournament,” Delgado said.
Bakersfield is the host for this season’s WAC Women’s Soccer Tournament, which will be played from Thursday, Nov. 5, through Sunday, Nov. 8.
For a complete look at the schedule click on the link provided for a printable schedule.