The Ferris State University women's soccer team will open its 2009 regular-season slate on the road this weekend (Aug. 28 and 30) with a pair of non-conference matches in the state of Minnesota.
Ferris State should be tested right out of the starting gate as the Bulldogs start the 2009 campaign going up against nationally 15th-ranked Minnesota State this Friday (Aug. 28) at Mankato, Minn. The season-opening contest will get underway at 4 p.m. (EDT) at the Pitch at Gage Towers on the MSU campus. The Mavericks compiled a 16-4-2 record overall in 2008, which included a 10-2-1 ledger in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). Minnesota State was chosen as the 2009 preseason favorite to win the NSIC title.
Following a day to rest, Ferris State wraps up its two-match road trip on Sunday (Aug. 30) against Winona (Minn.) State. A 1 p.m. (EDT) start time is scheduled for the matchup. Winona State will bring an 0-1 overall record into the contest after suffering a 3-1 season-opening loss to Mesa State (Colo.) on Thursday (Aug. 27) at Kearney, Neb. The Warriors were 19-3-1 overall and 12-0-1 in the NSIC.
For Ferris State, the expectations for success are high entering the 2009 season.
"This is the best preseason we've had since I came to Ferris State," said fourth-year head coach Neathan Gibson. "The ladies have practiced hard and have played through the tireness which every team undergoes in the preseason. We also have no serious injuries to report which is always a positive going into a season.
" Our depth is much better than in past seasons and it's encouraging to allow us more options and to change the dynamics," added Gibson.
The Bulldogs return 14 letterwinners from last season's squad with six of those being starters. FSU also welcomes back nine of its 12 top points leaders from the 2008 team.
Ferris State, which posted a 9-9-1 overall record with a fourth-place 7-6-1 mark in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), opens the home portion of its 2009 schedule next Tuesday, Sept. 1, versus Lewis. The home opener is scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. (EDT) start at the FSU Soccer Field in Big Rapids, Mich.