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Colorado college teams taking the field

August 13, 2010 | 9:55 pm No comments
By Shaun Schafer

If life is measured in the span between holidays, then the space between the Labor Day Weekend and Halloween is the college soccer zenith in Colorado.

The schedules are set, and the first games of the season are imminent. A national champion readies for a title defense, a few perennial cellar dwellers look for a better finish, and a host of new coaches and players ready to take the field.

First: Northern Colorado became the first Colorado institution to kick-off the fall soccer season with a Friday trip to Norman, Oklahoma.

The Bears exhibition against the Sooners is one of many preparation games ongoing for the coming season. During the next two weeks teams from Greeley to Grand Junction, Durango to Denver and Alamosa to Golden, will be running through the rituals of alumni games and preseason exhibitions.

Below are just some of the things to watch for during the coming season.

Plum Games: With 26 men’s and women’s teams taking the pitch, it’s easy to find an entertaining contest every weekend. There are some dates, however, that really stand out as I look at the fall.

Sept. 4: Colorado faces Denver at the DU Invitational in Denver. It’s nice to see two of the Division I squads get together early in the season. It will be intriguing to see the Buffs and the Pioneers collide, and the sort of matchup that builds local rivalries.

Sept. 24: Metro State women vs. Colorado School of Mines holds a lot of promise. Both teams are ranked in the NCAA Division II preason Top 10. Metro State has won eight straight Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference titles, but Mines knocked off the Roadrunners 4-3 on penalty kicks in the 2009 NCAA tournament. This promises to be an entertaining time on Auraria Field.

Oct. 8: It’s a return trip to downtown Denver as the Fort Lewis men visit Metro State. The defending National Champion Skyhawks and the Roadrunners are among the few teams that generate a true distaste for one another. These two teams don’t get along, and last year’s clash at Auraria produced a flurry of yellow and red cards. The return engagement in Durango wasn’t much better.

Seriously, I’m taking 25 minutes on the over/under for the first card in the game when these two meet.

If this doesn’t produce enough drama, the two clash again a week later in Durango.

Oct. 22: All right, this is entirely so I can mention the clip from last year’s New Mexico-BYU showdown. The women at the Air Force Academy host New Mexico. If ever there was a squad trained not to tolerate out of control Lobo defenders, this would be the team. The trip to Colorado Springs seems that much more entertaining.

Nov. 3-7: The men’s and women’s RMAC tournaments will be unfolding on these days. Odds are excellent games will be played (1) in Colorado (2) on campuses in the Denver metro area and (3) on Dirks Field in Durango. I’m in for all of it as teams scramble at the end of the regular season.

Away and Home: The Mesa State women win the prize for the split personality schedule. They open the season with six consecutive road games. While they rack up the road miles, they get a reward at the end of September. The Mavericks start a six-game homestand on Sept. 22, just as the RMAC conference schedule gets under way.

Road Warriors: CSU-Pueblo’s women and the Fort Lewis men will also be collecting miles in the first part of the season.

The Thunderwolves women play three exhibition games on the road, followed by three of the first four games on the road.

The Skyhawks open with a road exhibition game at New Mexico before playing seven of their first eight games on the road.

Aloha Rangers: The Regis women travel to Honolulu to take on BYU-Hawai’i and Hawai’i Pacific on Aug. 26 and 28, respectively, to start the Rangers’ season.

Yes, there will be the challenges of travel and time changes, but doesn’t this sound like the perfect cap to a summer?

Suddenly, all the photographers and every writer at ColoradoSoccerNow.com were ready for an out of town trip.

What Time?: If you are going to a Fort Lewis women’s game and forget the start time, gamble on it being 1 p.m. The Skyhawks play 10 of their 18 games at 1 p.m.. Throw in the Aug. 23 exhibition against Colorado College, and 11 of the team’s games start at 1 p.m.

No other Colorado team comes close to such consistency.

And with that, we begin.

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