Soccer gears up for battle with Falcons
GREELEY – After a quick two-game home-stand, the Northern Colorado women's soccer program hits the road again as it begins a four-game road-trip with a match against instate-rival Air Force.
Friday's match will be the sixth straight year the two teams have matched up as an instate-rivalry heats up. Coming into this year, the Bears hold a 7-4 all-time series lead and have won the last five. Last season, Northern Colorado bested the Falcons 2-0 at Jackson Stadium.
Coming into the weekend, Air Force has posted a 3-1 record, including a 3-2 win over Big Sky opponent Eastern Washington. Last season, the Falcons finished with an 8-9-2 overall mark, but struggled in Mountain West Conference play. They finished in seventh place in the conference with a 1-5-1 record.
- Game 1: Northern Colorado (0-3-1, 0-0 Big Sky) at Air Force (3-1-0, 0-0 Atlantic Sun)
- When: 5:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2
- Where: Air Force Academy – Cadet Soccer Stadium (1,000)
- Coaches: The Bears' Tim Barrera (169-148-17) vs. the Falcons' Larry Friend (13-25-3)
- All-time series: Northern Colorado leads 7-4, starting in 1992. The Bears are 3-3 at the Air Force Academy.
1992 at Air Force W, 2-1
1992 Air Force W, 5-1
1993 at Air Force L, 3-1
1994 Air Force L, 2-1
1995 at Air Force L, 2-0
2004 at Air Force L, 1-0
2006 Air Force W, 1-0 (2OT)
2007 at Air Force W, 3-1
2008 Air Force W, 2-1 (OT)
2009 at Air Force W, 3-1
2010 Air Force W, 2-0
- The Bears began their transition to the NCAA Division I level in 2003-04 and were postseason eligible for the first time in 2007-08.
- Sophomore forward Danielle Birdsall was named Big Sky Offensive MVP after putting together an outstanding sophomore campaign. She was also awarded the league's Golden Boot for having the most points (18) in the league.
- Friday's game against Air Force will mark Northern Colorado's third match this season against an instate-rival. The team kicked off 2011 with games against both Denver and Colorado. The Bears are still looking for their first win against a Colorado school this season.
- Northern Colorado senior forward Kimmie Feidler seems to have a flair for the dramatic. In 2010, the Arizona native put away a shot as time expired to give the Bears a win over New Mexico State. To kick off 2011, Feidler added to her late-game heroics by putting away a shot from 20 yards out to tie a game against Denver in the closing minutes.
- The Bears take a five-game winning streak over Air Force coming into Friday's match. The last time Northern Colorado fell to the Falcons was in 2004.
- After finishing in fourth place in the Big Sky with a 3-2-2 conference mark, the Bears qualified for just their second birth in the Big Sky Conference Tournament in 2010. The team eventually fell in the semifinals to Northern Arizona.
- For the first time in school history, Northern Colorado had players named to the All-Big Sky First Team in 2010. Both Danielle Birdsall and Kimmie Feidler were named to the team. Ariel Cook and Aundreaha Martinez were both named to the second team. The four all-conference selections is most in school history.
- Heading into the season, senior forward Ariel Cook needs just two more goals to move into the top-10 of Northern Colorado's all-time career goals list. Her 17 career goals is already the most in the school's Division I history.
- The Bears' five-game unbeaten streak in the middle of last season marks the longest such streak since 2002, when the team opened up the season with a nine-game tear.
- After making 86 saves in 2010, senior goalkeeper Kirstin Salminen sits in fifth-place on the school's all-time career saves list. If she can post another season similar to her 2010 campaign, the Washington native could find herself finishing her career in the top-three.
- With Northern Colorado's 2-1 win on August 20th on the road against Wyoming last year, head coach Tim Barrera earned his 100th victory as the head coach of the Bears. His 109 career wins as a Bear almost double the numbers of Dana Kusjanovic, who sits in second place on the list.
- Coming into the weekend, Northern Colorado goalkeeper Kirstin Salminen leads the Big Sky in saves (26). Her 234 career saves is good for fifth all-time in school history.
- The Bears are the only Big Sky team to have two players finish in the top-four in total points in 2010. Danielle Birdsall posted 19 points, while Ariel Cook finished with 18.