March 9, 2004
In one of the toughest schedules of its six-year existence, the University of Houston women's soccer team, which signed six new faces to its squad last month, kicks off the 2004 regular season against cross-town rival Rice on August 27 at Robertson Stadium, it was announced today by head coach Bill Solberg and his staff.
"We start the season off in the non-conference side with some big tests early, not only playing our rival Rice, but traveling to North Texas and regionally- ranked South Carolina," began Solberg, who enters his fifth season at the helm of the Houston program. "All will be huge tests for us early in the season, both physically and mentally, which will only help as we get into our conference schedule."
Highlighting Houston's demanding 2004 schedule are match-ups against seven Texas schools and contests against powerhouses South Carolina, UNLV and Marquette - all of which are considered among the top teams in the nation - before equally tough competition in conference play.
"There are no easy games in Conference USA," said Solberg. "On any given day, any team can win in this league. We did get lucky in having our last three conference games at home, which is nice to close out the season."
In addition an early exhibition contest against Big 12 soccer power Baylor at Robertson Stadium on Aug. 21, the Cougars have six Texas schools on the schedule this year, the most ever in the program's brief history. After opening the season against Rice, Houston also has matches against North Texas, TSU, Prairie View A&M, TCU and SMU.
Houston plays seven non-conference matches before beginning the Conference USA schedule in mid-September, with four of its first six league games on the road. After kicking off league action at Tulane on Sept. 24, the Cougars host Saint Louis (Oct. 1) and Memphis (Oct. 3) before heading back on the road for four straight C-USA games against TCU (Oct. 8), DePaul (Oct. 15) and Marquette (Oct. 17), with a non-conference match-up game at SMU sandwiched in between on Oct. 10.
The Cougars return to Robertson Stadium and close out the season with three straight home matches against USF on Oct. 22 and UAB on Oct. 24 before their home finale slated for Oct. 29 against the Charlotte 49ers.
Last season, the Cougars posted a 3-13-2 overall record, including 1-8-1 in C-USA play. Senior midfielder Nikki Hawkins was named to the First Team All-Conference USA, while graduated senior defender Emily Allwardt was named to the Second Team and sophomore defender Nicole Zygmontowicz earned a spot on the All-Freshman Team.