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Broncos set to face seven NCAA Tournament teams

Broncos set to face seven NCAA Tournament teams »Play Video
Brooke Heidemann earns Freshman of the Year honors, and makes the Mountain West Conference First Team.
BOISE, Idaho - Boise State released its 2013 soccer schedule, Tuesday, which features seven NCAA Tournament teams from 2012. The 21-game schedule includes nine home contests to be played at the Boas Soccer Complex and 12 road matches.

Highlighting the list of opponents is Mountain West foe San Diego State which finished seventh in the final rankings last season, and Baylor which was slotted 12th. Both teams advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament in 2012, with Baylor falling to eventual champion North Carolina.

“There’s a fine line that you walk between taking on too much of a burden competition-wise and not offering enough competition where you become reliant on winning the tournament to get into the NCAA playoffs,” said head coach Jim Thomas. “By playing some of the teams on our schedule, we should be in a good place if we can have a positive record against those teams.”

The Broncos will face three Pac-12 schools during the non-conference slate, each of which qualified for the tournament. The first Pac-12 duel will be with Washington, Sept. 1, the day after the Boise State football team opens its season against the Huskies. Thomas hopes the competitive energy will at last all weekend at the place where he spent five years as an assistant coach.

“We’re just trying to make it a complete Blue and Orange weekend in Seattle,” Thomas said. “With us playing the day after the football game, I think there will be a lot of carryover and I know it will really get the competitive juices flowing in our players.”

The Broncos will finish their nonconference schedule by traveling to face a pair of tournament teams from major conferences in Arizona State (Sept. 20) and Baylor (Sept. 22). The weekend is in the middle of a three-week road trip after meeting North Dakota State (Sept. 13) and North Dakota (Sept. 15) and prior to starting conference play at UNLV (Sept. 27) and Nevada (Sept. 29).

“Going on the road and playing tournament-level teams will really set us into a good place for the NCAA Tournament which would most likely be played away from home,” said Thomas.

Boise State will host its annual fall tournament Sept. 5-8, but will meet three teams this season instead of the traditional two-game format. The Broncos will start Thursday against Washington State before playing Weber State, Friday and a team to be named, Sunday.

The new-look Mountain West features 11 teams including the Broncos with the addition of Utah State and San Jose State from the Western Athletic Conference, as well as Colorado State which will field a women’s soccer team for the first time in 2013.

Home games will pit the Broncos against Wyoming (Oct. 4), Air Force (Oct. 6), San Jose State (Oct. 11), defending champion San Diego State (Oct. 25) and New Mexico (Oct. 27) for Senior Day.