MISSOULA — With August here, sports at the University of Montana are gearing up for their fall seasons.
That includes the women's soccer program, which got practices underway and is prepping for its first game.
The Grizzlies opened their 2023 fall campaign last week with their first practices as they gear up to get back atop the Big Sky Conference.
"I feel like people were super motivated to just get going again," said senior defender Charley Boone. "This offseason was definitely a rebuilding period for us and a lot of development was made so it was fun, it was a really good time honestly."
After advancing to three NCAA tournaments and winning one regular-season championship from 2018 through 2021, last year was an uncharacteristically down year for Montana. The Grizzlies barely squeaked into the Big Sky tournament as the sixth and final seed, and were eventually ousted in the semifinals.
But it's a new season for the Grizzlies, and with a lot of key returners back, plus some talented younger players and transfers, they're raring to get back to their winning ways.
"I think the biggest part of our team is we value relationships and I think just having good relationships on and off the field, and I guess just the connections and chemistry that you find with each other, I think that's going to be a huge part in being successful this year," said senior midfielder Sydney Haustein. "But we have a great group of people so I don't think it'll be that hard to find."
The Grizzlies already kicked the season off with a win on Sunday as they defeated the Air Force Academy 2-0 in an exhibition match in Missoula. They will play one more exhibition match on Thursday as they take on Calgary.
Their first official game of the season will be Aug. 17 at North Dakota followed by a road matchup against North Dakota State on Aug. 20. They will follow that up with their first two home games of the season when they host Montana State Billings on Aug. 24 followed by a match against Ohio State on Aug. 27.