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FIRST-YEAR COUGARS EYE FIRST PLACE

How would you like to start a new Division I intercollegiate sport and enter the regular season expected to compete for at least third place in the conference standings?

For Jennifer Rockwood, coach of BYU's inaugural intercollegiate women's soccer team, third place in the Western Athletic Conference standings is not the ultimate goal. The Cougars are eyeing the top prize."We want to win the WAC," Rockwood said. "That's a bold thing for a first-year program, but it's what we want to do."

BYU officials would like to think they're ranked third in the conference preseason polls. Projected first is San Diego State, which has a long-standing women's soccer program, while second-ranked New Mexico has a third-year squad. BYU joins another trio of teams taking their first soccer steps - Utah, Fresno State and Wyoming; the WAC expands to 13 teams next year.

"We've got some big shoes to fill,' says coach Jennifer Rockwood of BYU's intercollegiate status. After playing on the Cougar club team for four years, Rockwood coached BYU for six years while amassing a 110-21-9 record - and a gaudy 60-4 mark during the past two seasons.

BYU has finished first in the Western National Collegiate Club Soccer Association the past two seasons and finished second in the NCCSA nationals last year, losing to a Weber State team they had beaten several times earlier in the season.

More than a dozen players - nine of them starters - return from last year's club team, including juniors Heather Dahl and Leanne Johnson and sophomore Ashley Monahan, three of the Cougars top four point-scorers last years. BYU also picked up a number of heralded recruits for its inaugural season, including Michelle Jensen of Olympus High and the Olympic Developmental Team and prep soccer and track standout Shauna Rohbock of Mountain View.

The team will be quite young - 11 freshmen, four sophomores and a pair each of juniors and seniors. Despite the new program and the youthful team, Rockwood has set some lofty goals.

The WAC will bring its six women's soccer teams together in early November for a three-day playoff. BYU could have a good sense where it stands among conference competition, since it is the only WAC team scheduled to play all league foes in regular-season action.

Home games are at South Field, between the Smith Fieldhouse and the tennis complex.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

BYU women's soccer

Date Opponent

Sept. 2 at Colorado College

Sept. 4 at Wyoming

Sept. 8 Utah

Sept. 9 Montana

Sept. 15 vs. Fresno State

Sept. 16 vs. Loyla Marymount

Sept. 21 vs. South Alabama

Sept. 23 at New Mexico

Sept. 29 Portland State

Sept. 30 Northern Colorado

Oct. 6 at San Diego Stae

Oct. 7 at Pepperdine

Oct. 9 at San Diego

Oct. 13 Gonzaga

Oct. 14 Cal State Northridge

Oct. 20 at Nebraska

Oct. 21 at Creighton

Oct. 25 Weber State

Oct. 27 at Utah

Nov. 1-3 WAC championships

Note: Sept. 15-16 games at Irvine, Calif.; Sept. 21 game at Albuquerque.