Soccer Hosts Bronco Invitational

What's Happening This Week: The Boise State soccer team will look to resume its winning ways at the Boas Soccer Complex when the team hosts the Bronco Invitational this weekend. The Broncos will face a pair of Big Sky schools in Montana, Friday at 6 p.m. and in-state rival Idaho State, Sunday at 2 p.m.

Promotions: Friday's match against Montana will feature $2 concessions including hot dogs, nachos and soda. Sunday's match against Idaho State is Camper Reunion Day. All kids who participated in a Boise State soccer camp this summer will be granted free admission when they where there camp shirt or soccer uniform to the match.

Follow the Action: Live stats will be available for each tournament match HERE, while live video will be provided for Sunday's match against Idaho State HERE, with subscription.

Fans can also stay updated via twitter by following @broncosportssoc.

► Match 5 Preview - Montana - Friday, Aug. 31 - 6 p.m. MT

• The Series: When the Broncos and Grizzlies meet up, fans know they are in for a treat. The 10-year battle between the two teams is level at 5-5-1 with all but one game being decided by a goal or less. The series is also even at 2-2-0 when they match up in Boise.

• Last Time: Boise State played Montana twice last season with both matches resulting in a Bronco loss in double overtime. The Grizzlies spoiled the season-opener in Boise with a thrilling 4-3 win before triumphing 2-1 at the Governor's cup in Moscow, Idaho. Montana forward Erin Craig put away three goals in the two meetings, including the game-tying and game-winning goals at the Governor's Cup.

• Scouting the Grizzlies: Montana comes to Boise on a three-match losing streak after winning its season-opener against Wyoming, 2-0. Since then, the Grizzlies have been outscored 6-0 in losses to TCU, Air Force and Texas Tech. Senior forward Erin Craig led the team in goals last season with 10, earning First Team All-Big Sky honors. Craig has one of the team's two goals this season.

► Match 6 Preview - Idaho State - Sunday Sept. 2 - 2 p.m. MT

• The Series: Idaho State holds a slight edge in the series with a 7-6-1 record. In Boise, that edge switches to the Broncos who own a 3-2-1 record at home against their cross-state rivals.

• Last Time: The Broncos defeated Idaho State 2-0 at the Governor's Cup in Moscow, Idaho with goals from Erica Parks and Shannon Schueren. Schueren found Parks in the 37th minute on a through ball up the middle of the field before tacking on the insurance goal in the 81st minute. The goal and assist were the first of the Bothell, Wash., native's career.

• Scouting the Bengals: Idaho State is off to a 3-0 start and is coming off a 4-0 win against Minot State last weekend. Senior forward Rachael Strawn leads the team with five goals already this season while Amanda Ellsworth has added two goals and two assists.

2012 Bronco Season Notebook

► Movin' on up - Erica Parks is currently in a tie for third on the career goals list (16) and ranks sixth in career points with 37. The senior needs two points to surpass Abbe Roche for fifth and four points to jump Kaziah Hill and Randi Baker for third all-time. Parks is also tied for second with eight career game-winning goals, one behind the school record.

Lauren Hickok has been a staple in the Boise State lineup each of her four years as a Bronco. The senior is fourth in minutes played and tied for ninth in games started (66). She has started in all but one of the games she has appeared in.

► On the Offensive - The four goals scored against North Dakota State is the most the Broncos have scored in a game since Oct. 8, 2010 when they netted six against Hawai'i.

► Third time's a charm - Boise State has not lost three consecutive games since Sept. 26, 2010, when the Broncos fell 3-2 against Northern Colorado to mark three in a row. The Broncos snapped all three two-game losing streaks during their next outing in 2011.

► JUMP START - The Broncos won their opening two games for the first time since the 2008 season when they defeated Northwest Nazarene and Eastern Washington at home.

► Preseason Predictions - The Boise State women's soccer team was picked to finish sixth in the 2012 Mountain West Women's Soccer Preseason Poll. The Broncos received 18 points, finishing ahead of Air Force and newcomer Nevada. Boise State does have a trend of surprising conference opponents though, as the Broncos have finished higher than projected in four of the last six seasons. Two-time defending champion New Mexico was picked to repeat, garnering 46 points and five first-place votes. San Diego State was close behind with 44 points and two first-place votes.

► Broncos in season Openers - The last minute-loss to Montana this season makes Boise State is 6-7-1 in season openers, but the Broncos are 5-3 when the first game of the season is at home. In those eight games the orange and blue have outscored the competition 19-12.

► 2012 Schedule - Bronco fans will be excited for the 2012 season because their soccer team will play 10 of its 19 game schedule at home. Home tournaments make up six of those games while the Orange and Blue will also play for Mountain West matches at the Boas Tennis and Soccer Complex.

The Broncos have a 49-44-9 record against teams on the 2012 schedule, including an unbeaten record against four of the 19 teams.

► Fresh Faces - The 2012 class represents three different states, boasting three high school state champions and five Olympic Development Program participants. The Broncos will welcome Dominique Banks (Cypress, Calif.), Bekah Carrasquer (Portland, Ore.), Brooke Heidemann (Meridian, Idaho), Kelsey Nicassio (Alta Loma, Calif.), Whitney Peterson (Meridian, Idaho), Anna-Marie Popma (Tigard, Ore.), Cassidy Richmond (Maple Valley, Wash.), Kayla Tucker (Canyon Lake, Calif.) and Kelsey Witker (Tacoma, Wash.) to this year's squad.

"This class is very athletic and very experienced," Lucas said. "They have some big-time games under their belts and they all fit a need that we have. We're looking forward to them coming in right away and helping us get better."

Lucas and the Broncos welcome two members of the class from the Portland-Metro Area, a strong pipeline for Boise State over the past several years. The Orange and Blue currently have five members who hail from the area.

► Bronco Season Preview - The 2012 Boise State soccer team is poised for a tournament run this season with an athletic mix of experience and youth. After finding its bearings in the new Mountain West last season, the Broncos will look to improve on its 2-4-0 conference record and 8-11-1 overall record from a year ago. Though its record left room for improvement, the team was not unsuccessful. The Broncos finished fifth in the final conference standings and made it to the first round of the Mountain West Tournament where they fell to UNLV, 2-0.

The trend in recent years for Boise State has been a growth in speed and athleticism, with this year's team showing no exception. Head Coach Steve Lucas says he plans to use these new skill sets but to continue the Broncos' style of play, coveting possession and connecting passes.

"We're a team that wants to keep the ball and that is never going to change," Lucas said. "Our athleticism and ability to do that has increased which is great. We want to be able to play faster while still keeping the ball."

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