LAS CRUCES, N.M.-New Mexico State soccer head coach Michael Needham announced the 2010 schedule, Tuesday, May 18, that features 12 home matches in Aggie Memorial Stadium. The second-year schedule is highlighted with the inaugural Aggie Classic, a pair of rivalry matches and two NCAA Tournament teams, Boise State and Northern Arizona.
“This schedule is appropriate for where we are as a program,” Needham said. “There are some good teams that we are going to play here. We’re definitely heavy on the home side, which is exciting. To follow up a great 2009 season, where our home attendance was fantastic, it was important to me to be able to get as many home games as we could, not only for our players but for our fans, because people were excited about us and we want everyone to stay excited.”
In 2009, the Las Cruces community embraced the Aggies and NM State ranked No. 15 in the NCAA in average attendance for the season. The Aggies averaged 1,129 fans for the seven home matches in Aggie Memorial Stadium.
For the second consecutive season, the Aggies open the year with the I-10 rivalry when they host UTEP (Aug. 20) in Las Cruces. Last year, the Aggies fell to the Miners, 1-0, in overtime and UTEP posted a 13-6-1 record in 2009.
“To start the year with the I-10 rivalry game, I think that will be an exciting game,” he said. “They are a good team and they’re experienced and play in a good conference. After just one year, I think the rivalry is there and it will be exciting to play at our place. We’re hoping to have a really big crowd that night, and we’re going to need a big crowd to win that game.”
NM State then faces Montana (Aug. 22) in Las Cruces for the first-ever meeting. The Grizzles were 4-13-1 last season.
The Aggies continue their home stand with the inaugural Aggie Classic. NM State takes on Jacksonville State (Aug. 27) and Prairie View A&M (Aug. 29). The Gamecocks were 8-10 and the Lady Panthers had a 9-10 record in 2009. This is the first meeting with both programs.
“For this first home tournament, we will have some good teams in here including North Texas, Prairie View A&M and Jacksonville State,” Needham said. “Anytime when you can bring three, quality Division I programs into town, it’s a good thing. We’ll be excited to host those teams.”
NM State travels north for its first road match of the season at New Mexico (Sept. 3), which is the first I-25 rivalry match in program history, and the Lobos posted a 13-5-3 record last season.
“This year, we also start the I-25 rivalry with New Mexico,” he said. “They have a very good program. They have done a nice job of building that program into one that competes for Mountain West Championships. That game will be a challenge. If you can walk away with a favorable result, it’s something you can really build on.”
The Aggies return to Las Cruces for a four-match home stand that begins with Northern Arizona (Sept. 5). In 2009, the Aggies suffered a 3-1 loss to the Lumberjacks that finished the year 10-9-2.
NM State then welcomes North Dakota (Sept. 10), Alabama A&M (Sept. 17) and Lamar (Sept. 19) to Aggie Memorial Stadium. Last season, the Aggies defeated Lamar, 2-1, and the Cardinals were 4-13-1. This is the first meeting with North Dakota and Alabama A&M that finished 3-14-2 and 2-16-0, respectively, a year ago.
The non-conference slate concludes for the Aggies with a road trip to Northern Colorado (Sept. 24) and Wyoming (Sept. 26). This is another new pair of opponents for NM State, and Northern Colorado was 6-10-1 while Wyoming was 9-8-3 in 2009.
The Aggies open their second season in the WAC at Nevada (Oct. 1) before they host Utah State (Oct. 3). The Wolf Pack is the only team the Aggies faced twice last year. NM State fell in double overtime, 1-0, and in the WAC Tournament, 1-0, and Nevada finished the year 10-12. Utah State was 10-9-2 in 2009 and defeated the Aggies, 3-0.
NM State then heads to Boise State (Oct. 8) and Idaho (Oct. 10). The Aggies beat the Broncos, 1-0, last year for their first WAC victory. Boise State finished the 2009 campaign 13-7-4 and won the conference tournament title. NM State also defeated the Vandals, 3-2, and Idaho was 9-10 last season.
The Aggies face Fresno State (Oct. 15) and San Jose State (Oct. 17) in Las Cruces. NM State recorded a 2-0 decision over the Bulldogs that finished 6-13, while the Aggies posted a 0-0 tie with the Spartans in double overtime. San Jose State won the regular season WAC title and posted an overall record of 11-6-3.
The league schedule concludes at Hawai’i (Oct. 24) and with the home finale against Louisiana Tech (Oct. 29). NM State beat the Rainbow Wahine, 2-1, in overtime, and Hawai’i was 7-11-1 a year ago. The Lady Techsters edged the Aggies, 2-1, in double overtime and were 12-7-1 in 2009.
The WAC Tournament, which the Aggies qualified for a year ago, takes the top six teams and is in Ruston, La. (Nov. 4-5, 7).
2010 New Mexico State Soccer Schedule
Aug. 20 UTEP
Aug. 22 Montana
New Mexico State Aggie Classic
Aug. 27 Jacksonville State
Aug. 29 Prairie View A&M
Sept. 3 at New Mexico
Sept. 5 Northern Arizona
Sept. 10 North Dakota
Sept. 17 Alabama A&M
Sept. 19 Lamar
Sept. 24 at Northern Colorado
Sept. 26 at Wyoming
Oct. 1 at Nevada*
Oct. 3 Utah State*
Oct. 8 at Boise State*
Oct. 10 at Idaho*
Oct. 15 Fresno State*
Oct. 17 San Jose State*
Oct. 24 at Hawai’i*
Oct. 29 Louisiana Tech*
Nov. 4-5, 7 at WAC Tournament
Home matches in bold
* denotes WAC matches
All dates are subject to change.