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Courtesy: Toledo Athletics
Senior Ashely Ross and the Rockets will host 2012 NCAA Championships participants Kentucky and Pepperdine this fall at Scott Park.

Toledo Announces 2013 Schedule; Home Matches Against 2012 NCAA Championship Participants Kentucky & Pepperdine Highlight Tough Slate

Courtesy: Toledo Athletics
Release: 04/24/2013
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TOLEDO, OH - The University of Toledo women’s soccer program released its 2013 schedule on Wednesday, April 24 and home contests against 2012 NCAA Championships participants Kentucky and Pepperdine highlight the 19-match schedule. The Rockets will entertain the Southeastern Conference (SEC) member Wildcats in their home opener on Sept. 1 and the West Coast Conference participant Waves on Sept. 8. UT is an impressive 59-17-7 (.753) at Scott Park since the start of the 2005 campaign.

"I’m delighted about the standard of competition we’ve chosen to face and I’m proud that we have an outstanding competitive tradition coupled with a first-rate field surface that gives us the opportunity to play these challenging home matches," 13th-year head coach Brad Evans said.

The four-time Mid-American Conference Tournament champions will open their regular season on the road with a pair of contests in Minneapolis on Aug. 23 & 25. UT will play the host Golden Gophers (11-7-2, 6-4-1 Big Ten) in its season opener, before competing against Belmont two days later. This fall will mark the third-consecutive year the Midnight Blue & Gold will begin their fall schedule versus a Big Ten team. Toledo and Minnesota will do battle for the second time on the pitch, while the Rockets and Bruins (8-9-2, 4-4-2 Ohio Valley Conference) will square off for a second-straight season. UT and UM played to a 0-0 double-overtime draw in 2010, while BU defeated Toledo, 2-1, last fall with both matches taking place at Scott Park.

One week later, UT will travel to Youngstown State (8-9-0, 3-4-0 Horizon League) on Aug. 30 before commencing its home slate against UK (14-7-1, 6-3-0 SEC). The Rockets are a perfect 6-0-0 all-time against the Penguins, while UT and the Wildcats will compete against one another for the first time. Last fall, Kentucky collected the program’s first-ever NCAA Championships win in a 1-0 triumph over UT Martin in overtime.

Toledo will then return to the road for a match against Atlantic Coast Conference member Pittsburgh (7-10-2, 2-6-2 Big East) on Sept. 6 prior to tackling a season-long four-match homestand against Pepperdine (14-7-0, 5-3-0 West Coast Conference), Indiana State (8-10-3, 2-3-1 Missouri Valley Conference) on Sept. 20, Dayton (14-4-2, 7-1-1 Atlantic 10) on Sept. 22 and Western Michigan (5-9-4, 1-5-4 MAC) on Sept. 27 in its conference opener.

The Rockets and Panthers have clashed on two occasions, with Toledo claiming a pair of 2-1 victories during the 2005 and 2008 seasons. UT and PU will square off for the first time. Last fall, the Waves dropped a 1-0 decision to No. 23 California in the opening round of the NCAA Championships at home. Toledo and ISU have hooked up one other time, with the Sycamores claiming a 1-0 home victory during the 2006 season. UT will also be in search of its first win against the Flyers. Toledo is 0-3-1 all-time against its intrastate opponent, most recently doing battle during the 2010 campaign.

"This will be a tremendously ambitious non-conference schedule and one that will challenge every member of our program to raise their standards as we strive to reach our collective potential," Evans said. "We will have to continue to develop and improve, and the foundation for that growth is already present. The leadership from our upperclassmen has been and will be vital to our team’s success. Our goals remain a constant, and that is to be in position to compete for championships and this schedule will certainly test and prepare us for MAC play."

As part of Toledo’s 11-match league slate, the Midnight Blue & Gold will square off against WMU in its conference opener for the seventh time in the last nine seasons.

Two days after the match with the Broncos, UT will make the short trip to Ypsilanti to take on Eastern Michigan (11-6-2, 8-3-0 MAC) on Sept. 29.

Toledo will then host Buffalo (5-12-2, 3-7-1 MAC) on Oct. 4 and Akron (6-11-1, 2-8-1 MAC) on Oct. 6, before starting a season-long, four-match road swing that includes 2012 NCAA Championships participant Central Michigan (15-7-1, 10-2-0 MAC) on Oct. 11, arch-rival Bowling Green (1-17-1, 0-10-1 MAC) on Oct. 13, Ball State (8-7-5, 5-3-3 MAC) on Oct. 18 and reigning MAC regular-season and tourney champion Miami (20-3-1, 10-0-1 MAC) on Oct. 20.

Following the two-week road swing, UT will host Ohio (8-10-1, 3-6-1 MAC) on Oct. 25 and Kent State (13-5-2, 7-3-1 MAC) on Oct. 27, before wrapping up the MAC regular season against Northern Illinois (8-9-2, 4-5-2 MAC) on Oct. 31 away from Scott Park.

The 2013 MAC Tournament begins Nov. 3 with quarterfinal-round action at the sites of the four highest-seeded teams. The four survivors from that round will head to the site of the highest remaining seed for the semifinals (Nov. 8) and championship contest (Nov. 10), which the Rockets have hosted four of the last seven seasons. The winner of the 17th-annual post-season event receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.

Evans’ squad is expected to return 17 letterwinners from a season ago, when they sported a 7-12-2 overall mark, including a 5-5-1 league ledger. UT finished fourth in the MAC West Division and made its eighth-consecutive postseason appearance under Evans. The No. 6 seed Rockets also advanced to the MAC Tournament Semifinals for an unprecented seventh-consecutive season after outlasting No. 3 seed EMU, 2-1, on penalty kicks. In the ‘Final Four’, Toledo came up a little short against No. 2 seed CMU, 1-0.

"Top to bottom this is an exceptionally strong schedule and one that I simply can’t wait to attack," Evans said. "We know that we will have to be incredibly focused on doing the little things well if we are going to have a great season, but I’m confident that the commitment and motivation is there from everyone associated with our program."

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