For first time since 2000, soccer to play on campus

Playing its home games on campus for the first time since 2000, the Western Washington University men's and women's soccer teams are slated for 21 appearances — 10 by the women and 11 by the men — this fall at the newly completed Robert S. Harrington Field.

The men are first on the field with an exhibition on Aug. 23 against NCAA Division I Seattle University. The men play a second exhibition on the field at 2 p.m. Aug. 30 versus Trinity Western, followed at 6 p.m. later in that same day by an exhibition by the women's team against Calgary.

Women's team

The women, who reached the NCAA Division II national semifinals in 2013, play regular-season home contests on Sept. 4 vs. Humboldt State, Sept. 15 vs. Notre Dame de Namur, Sept. 25 vs. Saint Martin's, Sept. 27 vs. Western Oregon, Oct. 2 vs. Simon Fraser, Oct. 16 vs. Montana State Billings, Oct. 18 vs. Northwest Nazarene, Oct. 23 vs. Seattle Pacific and Oct. 25 vs. Central Washington.

Those games are all GNAC counters with the exception of Calgary, Humboldt State and Notre Dame de Namur.

The women open their season with two road exhibitions, traveling to British Columbia on Aug. 22 and to Trinity Western on Aug. 27.

The Vikings have nine regular-season road contests on their schedule. They are Azusa Pacific on Sept. 8, Cal Baptist on Sept. 10, Central Washington on Sept. 18, Seattle Pacific on Sept. 20, Montana State Billings on Oct. 4, Western Oregon on Oct. 9, Saint Martin's on Oct. 11, Northwest Nazarene on Oct. 30 and Simon Fraser on Nov. 1. The Azusa Pacific and Cal Baptist encounters are not league counters.

The GNAC Tournament takes place on Nov. 6 and 8 at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.

The 2013 national semifinals marked the longest post-season run in school history for WWU. The Vikings finished 20-2-1, the victory total being a school record, and won GNAC regular-season and West Region championships.

Six starters and 13 letter winners return for coach Travis Connell (12th year, 141-61-20). Leading the returnees are 2013 GNAC Defender of the Year Brianna Jones (Sr., Bonney Lake), honorable mention Daktronics All-American forward Catherine Miles (Jr., Anacortes) and second-team Daktronics West Region all-star midfielder Kim Cooper (Sr., Bellingham).

WWU is working on a 20-game home winning streak after going 12-0-0 at Whatcom CC's Orca Field last year.

Men's team

The men have an early season five-game home stand, playing host to Cal State East Bay on Sept. 13, Notre Dame de Namur on Sept. 15, Simon Fraser on Sept. 20, Northwest Nazarene on Sept. 25 and Montana State Billings on Sept. 27. The meetings with Simon Fraser, Northwest Nazarene and Montana State Billings are Great Northwest Athletic Conference counters.

WWU's final four home games, all GNAC contests, are with Saint Martin's on Oct. 16, Seattle Pacific on Oct. 18, South Dakota Mines on Oct. 30 and University of Mary on Nov. 1.

The Vikings have 10 road games, beginning with an exhibition at British Columbia on Aug. 26. Their regular-season trips are to Cal State L.A. on Sept. 4, UC San Diego on Sept. 6, Seattle Pacific on Oct. 2, Saint Martin's on Oct. 4, Mary on Oct. 9, South Dakota Mines on Oct. 11, Montana State Billings on Oct. 23, Northwest Nazarene on Oct. 25 and Simon Fraser on Nov. 8.

The men had one of the school's most successful seasons in 2013, finishing 11-4-3 overall and 9-2-3 in GNAC play. The campaign ended with a 3-0 victory over nationally No.2-ranked Simon Fraser.

Head coach Greg Brisbon (2nd year, previously WWU assistant for 12 seasons, eight as associate head coach) has eight starters back. They are led by goalkeeper Keegan Rogers (Sr., Portland, OR/Portland Christian), a third-team National Soccer Coaches Association of American West Region and second-team GNAC all-star who ranked 13th nationally in goals against average at 0.67 and save percentage at .848, and first-team all-league defender Troy McCarty (So., Snohomish), who scored four goals.

WWU has not played on campus since the 2000 season with its home games during the interim taking place at Civic Stadium in Bellingham, Pipeline Field in Blaine and most recently at Orca Field on the Whatcom CC campus.