Zags' 2017 Slate Features 12 Home Matches, NCAA Tournament Experience
June 26, 2017
SPOKANE, Wash. – Head coach Einar Thorarinsson is ready to test his experienced Bulldog squad in 2017, with a challenging schedule, announced Monday.
The 20-match schedule features six teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2016, including a home match against Denver on September 30, who advanced to the NCAA National Semifinals last season. Twelve of the Zags’ scheduled opponents had winning records last year and five were ranked or receiving votes in the final National Soccer Coaches Association of America Poll.
Fans will have numerous opportunities to see the Zags in 2017, who return nine starters from a team that was nationally ranked a season ago, as they will toe the pitch at Luger Field 12 times, the most since 2009, including eight times under the lights in their sophomore season of operation.
GU faced seven of their 2017 non-conference opponents in 2016 and will play four of their seven West Coast Conference games on the road this season.
“This is a good schedule and will prepare us well for the conference season,” Thorarinsson said. “We have some difficult away tournaments and a lot of quality home games, especially with teams who advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season. The schedule came together nicely this year to be able to play a lot of great competition at home.”
The Zags will open the season at Luger Field by hosting two NCAA Division II teams in exhibition action. They will play Western Washington at 4:30 pm on August 18 and Northwest Nazarene at noon at August 21. Both teams had winning records last year and WWU advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
The Bulldogs officially open their season on August 25 at Houston Baptist at 5:30 pm PST. The Zags will stay in Houston and play Texas Rio Grande Valley at 11 am PST at Houston Baptist’s field on August 27 as part of the Houston Baptist Invitational. It will mark the first meeting in program history against both schools.
GU will return home on September 1 to host their Gonzaga Tournament for the fourth-straight season, welcoming American, UC Riverside, and Oregon State. GU plays American, who they defeated 3-1 on the road last season when AU was ranked No. 20 nationally, at 7 pm on September 1 and they will look to avenge last season’s 2-1 road loss to UCR at 4 pm on September 3. OSU will play UCR and AU preceding each GU game.
On September 7, Washington, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament Third Round last season and finished the season ranked No. 12, will visit the Zags at 7 pm. Three days later Seattle U, who GU beat 4-2 at home when they were ranked No. 16 last season, comes to Spokane for a 1 pm showdown.
The Zags will face CSU Bakersfield at UNLV in Las Vegas at 4:30 pm on September 15 in the Johann Memorial Classic and battle host UNLV, who advanced to the NCAA Second Round and GU defeated 2-0 at home last season, at 1 pm two days later. GU wraps up their non-conference schedule with homes games on September 22, 24, and 30 against Air Force, Utah Valley, and Denver at 7 pm, 1 pm, and 7 pm, respectively. The Zags fell on the road to Air Force and No. 19 Utah Valley last season, as both finished with at least 14 wins. GU is 2-1 all-time against Denver, who advanced to the NCAA National Semifinals last season and finished ranked No. 3 nationally, as the teams last met in 2015, a 2-1 DU win in Denver.
The Bulldogs open their 2017 conference slate by hosting Saint Mary’s at 7 pm on October 7 and traveling to Loyola Marymount at 7 pm on October 13. Two days later GU travels to San Diego for a 1 pm match. The Zags then return home for games on October 27 and 29, with a 7 pm start against San Francisco and 1 pm start versus Santa Clara on the 29th for Senior Day.
GU will end the conference season on the road at Portland, who won the WCC last year and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, and at Pacific, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round via an at-large berth a season ago. GU faces Portland on November 4 and Pacific on November 11, both at 7 pm.
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