June 1, 2009
DeKALB - Northern Illinois head women's soccer coach Carrie Barker announced her team's 2009 schedule, Monday, highlighted by a seven-match home stand and a trip to Barker's alma mater, Wisconsin.
"Our schedule this fall is definitely going to be tougher than last fall," Barker said. "Every game is extremely important from start to finish."
After opening the season with trips to Valparaiso and Southeast Missouri State, the Huskies travel to Madison to face the Badgers, Sept. 3. A 1995 graduate of Wisconsin, Barker served as an assistant with the team from 2004-06.
"Wisconsin is going to be a great challenge for us, and important because it can help our RPI," Barker said.
The Huskies follow the Wisconsin game with matches against in-state rivals Illinois State and SIU-Edwardsville. Both of matches are on the road, and round out a five-game road swing to open the season.
Northern Illinois counters with a string of seven consecutive home matches, stretching from Sept. 13-Oct.4. The home stand includes games against Loyola, Oakland and Liberty, as well as contests with Mid-American Conference opponents Bowling Green, Ohio, Akron, and defending MAC Champion Toledo.
"Hopefully, we show well in those early home games, then we get bigger crowds and it becomes a true home field advantage," Barker said.
The Huskies will finally hit the road again for trips to Kent State and Buffalo, Oct. 9 and 11, respectively, before closing out the home season Oct. 16 and 18 with matches against Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan.
Northern Illinois finishes the season with visits to Ball State, Miami (Ohio), and Western Michigan in late October.
"We are travelling quite a bit in the early part of the schedule, then we also finish off on the road," Barker said. "I think this set-up gives us a huge advantage on finishing strong."
The Mid-American Conference Tournament beings Nov. 1, with the title game set for one week later.