LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming women's soccer team will open the 2015 season on Friday with a road match at the University of Montana. Kickoff for the season opener in Missoula, Mont. is set for 5:30 p.m. MT.
Wyoming was picked to finish third by the league coaches in the Mountain West Preseason Poll released on Monday. The Cowgirls finished last season with an 11-9-1 record and an 8-3 mark in the conference. UW is looking to keep the momentum going after winning both exhibition games to open the season. UW beat the Omaha, 3-2, and Colorado School of Mines, 3-0, with both matches taking place in Laramie.
"We're just ready to play," Wyoming head coach Pete Cuadrado said. "The team is excited and we want to get out and see how we do in a game that matters."
Wyoming returns a talented group from last season. The Cowgirls' roster features youth with 18 under classmen, but UW also returns experience with eight returning starters. Sophomore midfielder Alisha Bass, who started all 21 matches and notched five goals, six assists and 16 points will play a key role for Wyoming this season. Another experienced player is junior forward Laurel Ramer, as she tallied 15 starts with three goals, three assists and 9 points. MW Freshman and Offensive Player of the Year Kaitlyn Lomsnes looks to build off a strong rookie season. In 13 starts she had 10 goals, four assists and 24 points earning All-MW First Team honors. She was also tabbed the 40th Best Freshman in the country by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
A look at the Griz: Montana returns eight starters after going 12-6-2 overall and unbeaten in the Big Sky Conference to win the regular-season title in 2014. Montana was picked second in the 2015 Big Sky Preseason Conference Coaches' Poll. Individually, the Grizzlies return one All-Big Sky first teamer in sophomore forward Hallie Widner. Three other returners were placed on the All-Big Sky Second Team in forward Mackenzie Akins, defender Tess Brenneman and goalie Kailey Norman.
"Every time we play Montana it seems like it's a one-goal game," Cuadrado said. "We know that we will have our hands full but we are excited to play."
Montana holds a 5-3-1 all-time record against Wyoming with the last meeting going in favor of the Cowgirls, 1-0 last season in Laramie. Friday's match will mark the second time in three seasons that Wyoming has opened the season in Missoula, Mont. It is also the second time under Cuadrado that the Cowgirls have faced-off against the Griz in the season opener.