Wyoming soccer season begins with road swing at UNC, Oregon State
* University of Wyoming press release
LARAMIE -- The University of Wyoming soccer team begins its season on the road. The Cowgirls travel to Northern Colorado on Thursday at 7 p.m. for their season opener before battling Oregon State on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Corvallis.
UW is fresh off a 2021 fall season that saw it go 8-10-1 overall and 4-7-0 in Mountain West Conference play. The eight wins were the most for a first-year head coach, Colleen Corbin, in program history.
The victories included one over rival Colorado State on Senior Day and a 6-1 record-setting win over Nevada. Both those highlights occurred at home, as road matches were one area where the Cowgirls struggled last season.
Wyoming went 0-7-1 away from home, being outscored 24-3 in those matches. Success on the road has been a big area of emphasis for Corbin and her staff ahead of the 2022 season.
“My biggest message this year to the team is they should approach every game the same way,” Corbin said. “It’s about mentality. It should all feel the same mentally and emotionally. They need to be tuned in regardless of what field we are on.”
With just a few weeks of fall practice under their belt – and a couple exhibition wins – Corbin feels as though this team is different from a season ago. They’ve grown, matured and are ready to start anew in 2022.
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“Based on what we’ve seen from preseason, it just feels different right now,” Corbin said. “The energy is different. The compete level is high. The comradery and the team atmosphere right now is phenomenal.”
As mentioned, the preseason included a couple exhibition victories. The Cowgirls defeated Casper College, 3-0, and Kansas State, 2-1.
Senior Haylee Rice and sophomore Maddi Chance each scored a pair of goals in those aforementioned matches. Freshman Alyssa Glover accounted for the other score.
Chance is coming off a season where she netted three goals, which ranked third on the team, after starting in all 19 games. Senior Jamie Tatum – who also started all 19 matches – led the team with six scores and a team-best seven assists last fall.
Junior Alyssa Bedard, who made 16 appearances and 15 starts, found the back of the net four times while also adding two assists. Senior Faith Joiner comes back after making 19 appearances and 16 starts with three goals scored.
Seniors Sydney Miller and Hannah Hagen along with sophomores Eliza-Grace Smith, Rae Gerking, Liv Stutzman and Taylor Brook return after starting a majority of last season.
The Cowgirls were picked ninth in the preseason MW Coaches Poll following its 11th-place finish in 2021. Northern Colorado was selected first in the preseason Big Sky Conference Coaches Poll after winning the regular season last year with a 10-8-2, 8-1 record.
The Bears dropped both of their exhibitions matches this fall to a pair of MW schools. They fell to Air Force, 2-1, and dropped a 1-0 decision to Colorado State.
Wyoming leads the all-time series with Northern Colorado, 10-7-2, however, recently the Bears have had the upper hand. They’ve claimed a win in five of the last eight meetings, which includes a 3-1 victory in Laramie last season.
“This year, for us, the Northern Colorado game is about trying to rewrite the story,” Corbin said. “Last year, our team would tell you they approached the game with not the best mentality. The way the team is approaching the match this year is night and day different.”
Oregon State owned an 11-7-1 overall record and a 3-7-1 mark in PAC-12 play last fall. The Beavers were picked 11th in the PAC-12 Preseason Coaches Poll.
Oregon State won both of their exhibition matches in August. It toppled Trinity Western, 4-1, before downing Seattle U, 2-1.
Sunday’s game will represent the first-ever matchup between the Beavers and Cowgirls.
“Oregon State is definitely going to bring a level of competiveness that one would expect from the PAC-12 school,” Corbin said. “Fortunately, we had the opportunity to play against Colorado this past spring and against Kansas State this preseason. We’ve matched up against power-five teams in the last six months, so I think that helps.”
The first road trip of the season concludes with a match at Montana on Aug. 25.