Toledo commences its 17th season of women's soccer this weekend when the two-time reigning Mid-American Conference regular-season champions travel to Purdue on Friday, Aug. 17. The opening whistle is slated for 7:00 p.m. at the Varsity Soccer Complex. The Rockets are 11-4-2 (.706) all-time in season-opening matches in the program's history, including 7-2-2 (.727) under Head Coach Brad Evans.
Two days later, the Rockets host Ohio Valley Conference member Belmont at Scott Park. Kick-off for that non-league match is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. and will be carried live on the Buckeye Cable Sports Network (BCSN). UT has compiled an impressive 56-11-7 (.804) record at the corner of Hill Ave. and Parkside Blvd. since the start of the 2005 campaign, including a 9-2-2 (.769) ledger last fall.
Sunday's match has also been tabbed as "Welcome Back Students." All UT students are encouraged to wear gold to the home opener and participate in a raffle to receive free gear from the Rocket Shop.
Toledo heads into this weekend's season-opening contests on the heels of last Friday's 0-0 draw vs. Detroit in its lone exhibition contest. Toledo finished with a 9-8 edge in shots against the Titans and a 5-2 cushion in corner kicks, but the Midnight Blue & Gold was unable to find the back of the net.
Sophomore Meghan Topolewski paced the Rockets' attack with three shots against UDM, and freshman Megan Connor was credited with two shots.
A total of 22 Toledo players saw action in the 90-minute contest, and 11 Rockets logged more than 50 minutes in the stalemate.
Toledo returns six of its top 10 scorers from last year's team that posted a 14-7-2 overall mark, including a league-record 9-1-1 MAC record, to successfully defend its league regular-season championship and capture another tourney crown.
The Rockets will face a Purdue team that finished with a 7-11-2 record in 2011, including 4-6-1 in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers have seven returning starters for 15th-year Head Coach Rob Klatte. They are paced by the sophomore duo of Alex Hairston (six goals and four assists) and Chinyelu Asher (three scores and four helpers) with 16 points and 10 points a season ago, respectively. UT and Purdue have squared off each of the last two season openers with the road team winning each time. Toledo claimed a 1-0 overtime triumph in West Lafayette, IN two years ago, before the Boilermakers rebounded with a 1-0 victory at Scott Park last fall.
Belmont also opens its regular season this weekend and is coming off an 8-8-1 overall mark in 2011, including a 5-3-1 mark in the OVC. The Bruins have 20 letterwinners returning for second-year Head Coach Heather Hensen. They are led by sophomore Taylor Smith with three goals and one assist a season ago. The Rockets and the Bruins will be meeting for the first time.
Following this weekend's season-opening matches, Toledo will travel to IPFW (Aug. 24) and Texas (Aug. 26).