"Heading into my second year and having a little bit more say in the schedule, it's a nice balance of games that we're going to have to play well in to get results," head coach Matt Kellog said. "There are some games where we should get results in, and a couple others that are going to be a tossup as to whether we can walk away with a result or not if we don’t play well on that day."
Unlike last season, North Dakota will play in two exhibition matches prior to the start of the season. On Aug. 15, UND will travel to Minneapolis to take on Minnesota, before playing Viterbo on Aug. 18 in Grand Forks, N.D.
"It's nice that we have those two exhibition games this year to see what we can do before we're actually playing a game that counts, as last year we didn't have that advantage," Kellogg added. "I'm also really happy with the way that dates fall for us. We're going to have 12 new players to the program, 11 of them are true freshmen and one is a transfer. So adjusting to that grind of Friday-Sunday, Friday-Sunday, is going to be difficult for them, and I think it's nice that we can kind of break them in early on in the schedule; since we do have a couple of one-game weekends where we can get our legs back under us before heading into conference play."
The season begins on Friday, Aug. 22 as UND and North Dakota State renew the instate rivalry in Fargo, N.D. Kellogg and his squad then returns home to take on South Dakota State, Aug. 24. The following weekend North Dakota heads to Chicago to play Chicago State, before heading north for a match against UW-Green Bay in Green Bay, Wis.
September begins with two high-caliber opponents in Nebraska, Sept. 7, in Lincoln, Neb., and Creighton, Sept. 12, in Grand Forks, N.D.
"It's always great to see opponents that are going to be about the same caliber that you're going to see in conference play, if not, even a little bit better," Kellogg commented. "We have Nebraska, who is defending Big Ten regular-season and conference tournament champions. We match up with Creighton again, who we played down on their field last year, so that will be a good test for us to see how much we've improved."
Following the Creighton game, UND stays at home to host Northern Iowa on Sept. 14. The final nonconference game is scheduled for Sept. 19 against South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D.
Big Sky Conference action begins on Sept. 28, with a single-game weekend against Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. North Dakota returns to the Rockies the following week to take on Idaho State, Oct. 3, in Pocatello, Idaho, and Weber State, Oct. 5, in Ogden, Utah.
North Dakota returns home for a two-week homestand in the middle of October, hosting Northern Arizona, Oct. 10, Southern Utah, Oct. 12, Sacramento State, Oct. 17, and Portland State, Oct. 19.
"It's nice that once we get into October we have that two-week stretch at home," Kellogg said. "We'll be on the road a little bit and then we come home for a nice stand, which is beneficial because that's also the time when the studies start to pile up. It's right around the first midterms and the student-athletes are starting to get a dose reality with their academics. Having the 11 true freshmen on the roster, it's going to be nice to be at home right in the thick of the season, when we'll be making a push for the tournament."
After the four-straight home games, UND travels out to Missoula, Mont., for a game against Montana, Oct. 24, before returning home to host Eastern Washington that same weekend for UND's final home contest of the 2014 season on Oct. 26. North Dakota then finishes the regular season with a lone game against Northern Colorado on Oct. 31 in Greeley, Colo.
The 2014 Big Sky Conference Soccer Tournament will be held Nov. 6-7 & 9. The top-six teams in the conference will advance to the tournament, with the regular-season champion hosting.