Toledo (0-2-0) will look to get on the winning track this weekend with a pair of tough non-league road matches. The Rockets will tangle with IPFW (0-1-0) on Friday, Aug. 24 at the Hefner Soccer Complex at 7:00 p.m., before battling Texas (1-1-0) on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at the Mike A. Myers Stadium & Soccer Field at 1:00 p.m. Sunday's contest against Big 12 member UT will be televised on the Longhorn Network.
The two-time reigning Mid-American Conference regular-season champion Rockets opened their 2012 campaign last weekend, dropping matches to a pair of formidable non-league opponents. On Friday, Aug. 17, UT suffered a 2-0 shutout at Big Ten member Purdue. Two days later, the Midnight Blue & Gold dropped a 2-1 decision against Ohio Valley Conference participant Belmont at home.
The Rockets are beginning the season with consecutive setbacks for a second straight year and fifth time in the history of the program. Last fall, Toledo responded quite nicely from the rough start and went on to successfully defend its MAC regular-season title and capture a league-record fourth tournament crown.
Junior Rachel MacLeod accounted for Toledo's lone goal against the Bruins on Sunday, marking the 16th time in the last 25 matches she has tallied either a marker or an assist. Last fall, MacLeod led the MAC in total points (31), goals (11) and match-winning scores (6), as well as tied for first in helpers (9) to become the second player in school history to earn MAC Offensive Player of the Year accolades.
As a team in 2012, the Rockets are outshooting their opponents, 21-12, including a decisive 11-3 edge in the first half. MacLeod currently paces the attack with a team-high five shots.
IPFW enters Friday's home opener on the heels of a 1-0 loss at interstate-rival Butler on Sunday. Head Coach Margaret Saurin is starting her sixth year with the Mastodons. IPFW is expected to be one the younger teams in the Summit League with 14 newcomers in 2012 and is coming off a 7-9-1 overall record, 2-6-1 in the conference. They are expected to be paced by the duo of Danielle Bishop (nine points in 2011, three goals with three assists) and Tylar Allison (eight points in 2011, one goal with six assists). IPFW has been picked fifth in the Summit League Preseason Poll in a vote of the league's head coaches. A season ago, the Rockets claimed a 4-3 victory against IPFW at Scott Park. UT leads the all-time series, 4-1-0, and has outscored the Mastodons by a 15-4 count in those matchups.
The Longhorns split a pair of matches this past weekend with a 3-2 overtime victory against Dayton on Friday and a 1-0 setback at Arkansas on Sunday. Head Coach Angela Kelly begins her first season with UT and has 12 returning letterwinners. They are led by all-conference honoree Hannah Higgins (14 points in 2011, three goals with eight assists) and Kristin Cummins (10 points in 2011, five goals) with three points each over the first two matches this fall. Texas, which hosts North Carolina State on Friday, has been picked to finish sixth in the new-look Big 12 Conference Preseason Poll in a vote of the league's head coaches. They finished 11-9-1 overall and 3-4-1 in the Big 12 last fall, losing to South Carolina, 1-0, in the first round of the NCAA Championships. The Rockets and Longhorns will be meeting for the first time. Toledo will be making its second trip in as many years to the Lone Star State. Last fall, UT participated in the Red Raider Classic in Lubbock.
Following this weekend's matches, Toledo returns home to host Loyola (IL) on Friday, Aug. 31 at 5:30 p.m.