MARSHALL (SMSU Athletics) The Southwest Minnesota State University soccer team opens the 2013 regular season with a pair of road games versus Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) opponents this Friday and Sunday. SMSU opens the season taking on Fort Hays State (Kan.) on Friday night starting at 6 p.m., before taking on Nebraska-Kearney on Sunday starting at 1 p.m.
SMSU will be taking on Fort Hays State for the first time in program history, while SMSU will be facing UNK for the second straight season. A year ago the Mustangs defeated the Lopers 3-0 in Marshall to open the season.
The 2013 SMSU roster consists of 25 players, including 13 returning letterwinners, seven incoming freshmen and five junior college or four-year transfers.
SMSU returns its top four scorers from a season ago and will also welcome back one of its top offensive performers from 2011. Sophomore Miranda Cadena led the squad a season ago with 14 points and six goals, while sophomore Kendahl Fisher recorded 13 points with four goals and five assists. Senior Kayla Williams and junior Autumn Hayes also return after racking up three goals each.
Senior Vanesa Corona returns in 2013 after missing last season with an injury. In 2011, she scored three goals and racked up seven points, finishing second on the team.
SMSU finished last season with an overall record of 7-9-1, 5-9-1 in the NSIC, its highest victory total overall and in conference play since 2004. Six of SMSU's losses last season came by one goal.
FHSU, which finished 14-7-1 last season, which included winning the MIAA tournament and advancing to the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history, was picked to finish fourth in the MIAA this season.
UNK was selected to finish eighth in the MIAA after finishing 9-7-2 overall in 2012.
SMSU opens conference play at the University of Sioux Falls on Sept. 11, before hosting Lindenwood (Mo.) for the home opener on Sept. 13.