(MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – Featuring 19 regular-season games, three local exhibition contests, and the Fifth Annual Rimrock Classic, the Montana State University Billings men’s soccer schedule for the fall 2018 season was revealed by head coach Alex Balog on Friday.
The Yellowjackets will open their highly-competitive schedule with an immediate NCAA Division II west region challenge, facing three members of the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
First up is Cal Poly Pomona, which went 17-6-1 a season ago and reached the NCAA Division II semifinals, on Aug. 31 in the regular-season opener. This will be the third season in-a-row the Yellowjackets and Broncos have squared off, with CPP winning 1-0 in 2016 before a 4-0 triumph in Billings last fall.
The ‘Jackets will then have a rematch against Cal State San Bernardino two days later, as they look to avenge last year’s 6-1 defeat at home against the Coyotes. The road trip to California concludes with a match against Cal State San Marcos on Sept. 4, which will be the second-ever meeting between the teams after a 1-1 draw in St. George, Utah in 2015.
MSUB’s home regular-season debut is Sept. 7-9, when it hosts Sonoma State University, Colorado Christian University, and the University of Mary in the Fifth Annual Rimrock Classic in memory of Trevor Wildberger. MSUB will play Colorado Christian on Sept. 7 and Sonoma State on Sept. 9, while those two teams will each take on Mary at the event.
The ‘Jackets have a first-time opponent on their schedule as well, as they will play Oklahoma Baptist University on Sept. 13 in Bismarck, N.D., before taking on University of Mary. OBU finished 7-9-1 in the 2017 season, and is a member of the NCAA D2 Great American Conference.
The 12-game Great Northwest Athletic Conference schedule begins with a road trip to perennial powerhouse Simon Fraser University and Western Washington University on Sept. 20-22. The ‘Jackets will look to keep their momentum from last year, when they picked up their first-ever win over SFU 2-1 at home against then-No. 9 Simon Fraser on Oct. 26. MSUB followed with a 2-0 win over WWU two days later.
The longest home stand of the season follows the SFU-WWU trip, as the ‘Jackets have five games at Yellowjacket Field from Sept. 27-Oct. 11. The match on Oct. 6 against Concordia University will be the annual MSUB Kicks Cancer match, as the ‘Jackets will warm up wearing pink to support the fight against cancer.
The final home match of the 2018 season is on Nov. 3, as the ‘Jackets will honor their graduating players on Senior Day against Simon Fraser University.
The Yellowjackets will be in the hunt for their first-ever NCAA D2 West Region Championships berth, with the tournament scheduled for Nov. 8-11. The top-six teams in the west region – comprised of the GNAC, CCAA, and PacWest Conference – earn a spot in the regional tournament, with the GNAC regular-season champion earning an automatic berth.
Before the regular season kicks off, MSUB will also play three exhibition matches in Billings. The ‘Jackets will face Rocky Mountain College on Aug. 17 at Herb Klindt Field, before hosting South Dakota Mines on Aug. 24 and Northwest College on Aug. 26.
MSUB’s home slate also features four doubleheaders with the Yellowjacket women’s soccer team, on Aug. 26, Sept. 27, Oct. 4, and Oct. 6.
All home games and select road games throughout the 2018 season will feature live video and live statistics, available online through MSUB’s Stretch Internet portal.