The Broncos open the 2008 campaign this weekend with Northwest Nazarene University on Friday and Eastern Washington University Sunday afternoon. Friday’s match with NNU starts at 5:00 p.m. and is the first of a three match homestand to open season. Boise State will follow with the second match Sunday afternoon, Aug. 24, when they host Eastern Washington at 1:00 p.m. All home contests are played at the Bronco Soccer Field adjacent to the Boas Tennis and Soccer Center on Oakland Avenue in Boise. Admission to all soccer matches is $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for senior citizens and youth (high school age or younger), while Boise State students are free with student ID card.
Boise State Versus This Week’s Opponents...
Match 1 Preview: Northwest Nazarene at Boise State - Friday’s match with NNU will be the season opener for both programs. Kick-off is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. (Mountain) at Boise State’s soccer field. This is the third regular-season meeting all-time between the two Treasure Valley schools, but the first since 1999 campaign. The Broncos have never lost to the NCAA Division II program from Nampa, Idaho, owning a 2-0-0 mark versus the Crusaders. In the previous two meetings Boise State outscored NNU, then a NAIA program, 11-to-1, 4-1 at NNU in 1998 and 7-0 in Boise during 1999. Note, these two have met several times in exhibition contests since, however, no record has been kept of those meetings.
Looking at Match 2: Eastern Washington at Boise State - Sunday’s encounter between the Eagles and Broncos is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. (Mountain) in Boise. It will be the 10th meeting all-time between the schools, a series Boise State has dominated leading 8-0-1. The two programs have met every year but one, 2000, since Boise State started its program in 1998. The Broncos have won two straight including a 3-1 victory in Boise last year. The lone draw of the series was also in Boise during the 2005 campaign finishing with a 1-1 score.
Looking at Boise State...
Boise State features the youngest squad in the Western Athletic Conference with 19 underclassmen on a roster of 26: 13 true freshmen, two redshirt freshmen, and four sophomores. In fact, only seven players return who have seen action for the Broncos. In all, their are 19 players on the team who could see their Boise State debuts this weekend. The Broncos also return the second fewest starters in the league with five compared to four for San Jose State.
However, Boise State does return the nation’s fourth ranked and the WAC’s top scorer in sophomore Shannon Saxton who averaged 0.895 goals per game as a freshman. She tallied a league best 17 goals and 39 points in 2007. Both Saxton and senior midfielder Randi Baker where named to this season’s preseason All-WAC team.
The 2008 season marks Steve Lucas’ ninth as head coach of the Broncos where he owns a 62-71-16 record. His current squad was picked by the league’s coaches to finish fourth in this season’s WAC race after going 9-7-3 overall and 5-1-1 in conference last season, tied for second in the final standings.
Miscellaneous Preseason Notes...
► Earliest Start To Season - This Friday’s, Aug. 22, match with Northwest Nazarene marks the earliest start to a season for the Broncos in history. The previous record was Aug. 25, 2000 when Boise State met the University of Hawai’i in Honolulu during the Outrigger Classic. That was one year prior to the Broncos joining the WAC and becoming league rivals with the Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine.
► Season Openers - Boise State is 5-4-1 all-time in season openers. They are 4-2-0 when opening the season at home and 1-2-1 on the road. The Broncos won their first opener on away from Boise last year when they defeated Portland State 3-0 in Reno, Nev.
► Record At Bronco Soccer Field - The Bronco Soccer Field is the home of Boise State soccer. It is located adjacent to the Boas Tennis and Soccer Center on south Oakland Avenue. Since the field opened in 2003, the Broncos have gone 24-11-8 (.651) all-time on their home turf.
► Boise State returns five starters - This year’s returning starters are sophomore forward Shannon Saxton, senior midfielder Randi Baker, junior midfielder Kaylea Perenon, sophomore midfielder Cheyenne Jones, and junior keeper Jen Burns.
► Broncos return five additional players from last season - Other returning lettermen from last year’s campaign include: senior midfielder Emma Boyack, junior forward Danielle Schwalbe, and three redshirts: junior forward Andrea Huerta, and freshmen Jayne Murray, a midfielder, and Lauren Acker, a defender.
► Seven of top-10 scorers are back - All seven of the returning players from 2007 ranked among the top-10 in scoring for Boise State last season. They are led the Shannon Saxton who led the WAC with school records for points and goals with 39 and 17 respectively. Randi Baker was third on the team in scoring with 12 points on four goals and four assists, followed by Cheyenne Jones at fourth with 10 points (3g, 4a), Kaylea Perenon fifth with nine (3g, 3a), Danielle Schwalbe sixth on seven points (3g, 1a), Emma Boyack was tied for seventh with four points (1g, 2a), meanwhile, Jen Burns set a school record for points by a goalkeeper with three assists for three points.
► Saxton returns for sophomore campaign - Shannon Saxton returns for sophomore season following a debut campaign where she was the league scoring champion with 39 points (17g, 5a), WAC Freshman of the Year, first-team All-WAC, and a SoccerBuzz Magazine West Region All-Freshmen team honoree. The Beaverton, Ore., native had a outstanding debut season for Boise State in 2007. Not only did she lead the league in scoring, she set school records for points and goals in a season with 39 and 17 respectively. She was fourth nationally in goals per game at 0.895 and sixth nationally in points per game at 2.05.
► Saxton and baker named to preseason All-WAC team - Boise State’s Shannon Saxton, a sophomore forward, and Randi Baker, a senior midfielder, were named to the 2008 Preseason All-WAC team in early August. It was the first such honor for both.