The University of Wyoming soccer team’s final nonconference match also is something of a start.
The start of a brutal road stretch.
The Cowgirls (4-1-2 overall) play at Southern Utah (1-6-0) at 4 p.m. today in Cedar City, Utah.
UW then opens the Mountain West schedule by playing four straight on the road.
It’s enough to think the Cowgirls might overlook the Thunderbirds.
“This week, our goal will be to maintain our focus on getting a good result on the road,” Cowgirls coach Pete Cuadrado said. “So far, the team has stuck together well, and we must stay together in our final match before conference play.
“This final nonconference match will definitely prepare us for the road ahead.”
UW snapped a two-game winless stretch by beating Iowa 1-0 at home Sunday.
The game’s lone goal came on a penalty kick in the first half, and was much needed for a team that had scored just three goals in its last five matches.
A win today would be an additional boost heading into conference play in a league with no clear-cut favorite.
In fact, the top team in terms of its nonconference record is UNLV at 6-1-1, and the Rebels’ lone loss came at Southern Utah in late-August.
UW begins MW play at San Diego State (2-4-0) at 8 p.m. MT next Friday.
The Cowgirls began the fall individual season Thursday at the ITA Bedford Cup in the Mountains in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
UW will play in six individual tournaments this fall, including hosting the Wyoming Invite on Sept. 21-23 in Laramie.
The Cowgirls have three starters back from last year’s team that went 12-8 overall and 3-2 in MW play.
Coming off a second-place finish to open the fall schedule, the Cowboys continue their schedule Monday and Tuesday with the Ram Masters Invitational at the Fort Collins Country Club in Fort Collins, Colorado.
The tournament features 36 holes Monday and 18 Tuesday.
UW placed second at the Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational, with four players placing in the top 25 overall.
UW junior Dan Starzinski was 12th with a 2-under-par total of 214, which included rounds of 69, 73 and 72, respectively.
Cowboys senior John Murdock was 17th at 216, sophomore Carl Underwood was 23rd at 217 and freshman Tyler Severin was 25th at 218.
The Cowgirls also play in Fort Collins next week, opening their fall schedule at the CSU Ram Fall Classic Monday-Wednesday at Ptarmigan County Club. The 54-hole tournament has one round each day.
The Cowgirls return seniors Sarah Hankins and Megan Knadler, juniors Kaylee Knadler and Erin Sargent, and sophomore Caitlyn Skavdahl from last year’s team.
The Cowgirls run in their second meet of the season at the Woody Greeno/Jay Dirksen Invitational on Saturday in Lincoln, Nebraska. The meet begins at 10 a.m. at Mahoney Golf Course.
UW is coming off a fourth-place finish at the Wyoming Invitational in Cheyenne on Aug. 31.
Freshman Katelyn Mitchern led UW with a sixth-place finish of 18 minutes, 28.0 seconds.
Junior Ashley Brock was 18th (18:57.5), and junior Kacey Doner placed 24th (19:16.17).