SAN ANTONIO — UTSA will open its seventh season of play this weekend when it plays at Houston Baptist on Friday night before hosting Dayton two days later. The campaign kicks off at 7 p.m. at Sorrels Field before the Flyers come to the Alamo City for a 1 p.m. tilt on Sunday.
UTSA, which was picked to finish in a tie for sixth place in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Preseason Polls, returns 14 letterwinners from last year’s team that finished with a 9-9-2 mark, including a 5-3-1 record in Southland Conference play. The Roadrunners played at Lamar and TCU during exhibition play and are coming off last Friday's 1-1 draw against the Horned Frogs.
Junior defender Anka Grotle earned preseason All-WAC accolades after logging a team-high 1,779 minutes on the pitch in 2011. She has started all 43 contests the past two seasons and helped anchor a defense that has produced 18 shutouts during that time, including a school-record 10 in 2010. The Roadrunners also return their top two scorers from a season ago in junior Maria Jose Rojas (9 goals) and sophomore Liv Nyhegn (8 goals).
Houston Baptist returns 17 letterwinners and all 11 starters from last year’s squad that went 11-9-1 (4-1-1 Great West Conference). Seventh-year head coach Misty Jones, who led the Huskies to an 8-2 record at home in 2011, welcomes just four newcomers to the team this fall. Molly Missimer started 20 matches a season ago and ranked second in the Great West with 22 points on seven goals and a team-leading eight assists.
Meanwhile, Dayton head coach Mike Tucker welcomes back 18 letterwinners and eight starters from last year’s squad that posted a 19-4 mark en route to its third consecutive Atlantic 10 (A10) Conference Tournament Championship. The Flyers are tabbed to win the program’s 11th league crown and they received votes in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Preseason Poll. Dayton is led by senior forward Colleen Williams, who was an NSCAA All-American a year ago after accounting for an A-10-leading 47 points (16 goals/15 assists).
UTSA has won two of its six all-time season openers, but it owns a 4-1-1 mark in home lid-lifters.
The Roadrunners are 2-0 all-time against Houston Baptist, including a 2-1 victory in the last meeting between the teams on Aug. 29, 2010.
UTSA and Dayton will be meeting for the first time.