August 12, 2011

Bears soccer free this season, starting Saturday

Free admission | Schedule | Roster

GREELEY, Colo. – The Northern Colorado women's soccer program kicks off the 2011 Northern Colorado Athletics campaign Saturday night with its annual Blue & Gold Scrimmage to prepare for the season. The scrimmage is set to begin at 7 p.m. at Jackson Stadium.

With just a week before the Bears begin the season, the Blue & Gold scrimmage will give fans a first chance to see the team that finished fourth in the Big Sky last year.

The scrimmage will also allow some of the Bears' nine new players their first taste of college competition.

Admission to Saturday night's scrimmage is free, as are all Bears' matches in 2011, which is a sharp contrast to previous years. Thanks to an incredible sponsorship deal with Best Western Plus in Loveland, all Northern Colorado home soccer matches will feature free admission this season.

"We're excited for our partnership with Best Western Plus," Northern Colorado coach Tim Barrera said. "Our program is starting to take big strides, and we hope this serves as an enticement for fans from across the region to come out and see some great women's soccer."

The Bears opens their regular season with the first annual Colorado Cup. The Bears will have a chance right away to prove they can compete with Colorado's best as they travel down I-25 to Denver University to take on the Pioneers on Friday, Aug. 19.

On Sunday of that same weekend, Northern Colorado will face off against Colorado in Boulder to wrap up the Cup.

The Bears finished last year with a 10-6-3 record, their best since joining the Big Sky in 2006. They ended with a 3-2-2 mark in Big Sky Conference play and earned their second qualification for the Big Sky Tournament. The Bears eventually fell to Northern Arizona in the semifinals.

Northern Colorado enters the season returning eight of eleven starters, including Big Sky Offensive MVP Danielle Birdsall. Barrera also has the luxury of returning All-Big Sky players Kimmie Feidler, Ariel Cook and Aundreaha Martinez in his arsenal of weapons.

The Bears' home-opener will be 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, when they face off against Jacksonville.