GAMES: The UND soccer team opens its 2012 regular season with a pair of contests against the Missouri Valley Conference's Northern Iowa Panthers and the Big Ten Conference's Iowa Hawkeyes.
PANTHERS: Northern Iowa returns five of their top six scoring threats from 2011 ... UNI concluded last year with a 8-10-3 record ... The Panthers averaged 1.00 goals per game while allowing 1.19 ... They compete in the Missouri Valley Conference ... UNI leads the all-time series 3-1.
HAWKEYES: Iowa won a school record 13 games in 2011 ... It returns eight starters from last year's team that went 13-4-3 and 5-4-2 in the Big Ten Conference ... Chloe Lacasse paced the team with 12 goals and 30 points in her freshman campaign ... The Hawkeyes reeled off a 12-game unbeaten streak to open 2011 before finishing 1-4-3 in its last eight contests ... Iowa averaged 2.20 goals per game while allowing 0.85 ... This marks the first meeting between the two teams.
A NEW HOME: The 2012 season marks the first year in North Dakota's new home of the Big Sky Conference and its first NCAA postseason-eligible campaign.
A CHANCE AT THE BIG DANCE: Only the top four teams in the Big Sky standings advance to the conference tournament to battle for the leagues automic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
REGIONAL RIVALS: UND will host both South Dakota State and North Dakota State in a nonconference match in Grand Forks for the first time since 2000 and 2003, respectively. The will also take on former Great West Conference rival South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D.
HOME COOKING: North Dakota will have a long home stretch including five straight and 5-of-6 games at Bronson Field during September.
ALL-BIG SKY: Rhaya Ballon was named to the Madness 2012 Big Sky Preseason All-Conference Second Team as selected by its staff in expectation of these players making significant contributions to their team in the upcoming season.
A Rogers, Minn., native, Ballon led UND with nine goals in 2011 and finished second in points with 19 while starting all 18 games. She scored at least one point in 10 of 18 games.
In her three seasons at North Dakota, Ballon has totaled 16 goals and six assists for 38 points.
PREVIOUS ACTION (Saturday): The University of North Dakota soccer team saw its first game action of the 2012 season Saturday afternoon hosting its annual alumni game at Bronson Field. The 2012 UND team played to a 7-0 victory over the UND alumni team.
North Dakota earned a 4-0 lead by the midway point and added an additional three in the second half. Sophomore Sam Harris (Bismarck, N.D.) and freshman Taryn MacMillan (Rosemount, Minn.) led the way with two goals each while junior Amanda Dahl (Redmond, Wash.) and freshmen Abbey Welle (White Bear Lake, Minn.) and Jessica Johnson (Tempe, Ariz.) scored one goal apiece.
FUTURE SCHEDULE: North Dakota hosts Minnesota, Crookston, in its home-opener on Aug. 24 at 4 p.m. before heading back on the road for a single match against South Dakota on Aug. 26 at 1 p.m.