GAMES: The UND soccer team hosts Minnesota, Crookston in its home-opener at Bronson Field on Friday at 4 p.m. UND concluded its weekend on the road on Sunday at 1 p.m. against non-conference rival South Dakota.
GOLDEN EAGLES: Minnesota, Crookston, opened its 2012 campaign with a 1-0 exhibition win over Jamestown College on Sunday. Nikki Hammond scored the lone goal for the Golden Eagles and Drew Underdahl recorded the one-save shutout. UMC finished its 2011 season with an overall record of 3-14-1 and finished in 12th place in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and return four starters from last year. Hammond led UMC with four goals. UND holds a 10-0 all-time record.
COYOTES: South Dakota will make its home debut Sunday in a non-conference game against UND on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Coyotes started the season 0-2 with a road trip out west where defeated by Gonzaga (3-1) and Idaho (1-0, 2 OT). Freshman midfielder Danielle Anderson scored USD's first goal of the year while sophomore Mackenzie Viktor has been strong in making 14 saves.
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 automatic 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: The University of North Dakota soccer team saw its first regular-season action of the 2012 season on the road against the Northern Iowa Panthers and Iowa Hawkeyes. Although results didn't go as UND would have wished, it feels it can take a lot out of the weekend and expects better results moving forward. North Dakota fell 5-0 to UNI and 3-0 against the Hawkeyes.
FUTURE SCHEDULE: After its match with USD on Sunday, North Dakota will start a five-game home stretch from Sept. 7-23 including tilts against South Dakota State, North Dakota State and pair of Big Sky opponents in Sacramento State and Portland State.