By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Cal State Bakersfield opens its women's soccer season tonight when it hosts Southern Utah at 7 o'clock on the CSUB Main Soccer Field.
CSUB, which has played as a Division I independent since the university moved out of Division II in 2007, is joining the Western Athletic Conference this season. The Roadrunners went 6-11-2 last season.
CSUB returns seven starters and 14 letterwinners from last season. Two Roadrunners, senior midfielder Erica Shelton and junior forward Emily Noethe, were named to the preseason All-WAC team by a vote of conference coaches. Noethe tied for the team lead with six goals last season and Shelton added four goals.
Other returning starters are senior midfielder Taylor Jordan, junior midfielder Leilani Skinner, sophomore defender Taylor Wheeler, junior defender Sarah Cook and sophomore goalkeeper Tori Ornela.
CSUB opens its season with four straight home matches. CSUB hosts Cal Poly at 7 p.m. Sunday, then hosts Northern Arizona and Sacramento State on Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, respectively.
The first WAC opponent will be Utah Valley, who the Roadrunners face Sept. 20 in Orem, Utah, and at CSUB on Sunday, Sept. 22.
Southern Utah went 3-11-2 last season, with a 3-2 overtime win over CSUB in both teams' season finales. Cal Poly went 9-7-3 last season.
CSUB has announced its women's basketball schedule for next season, its first season as a member of the WAC.
The Roadrunners, who went 12-17 last season, travel to two Pac-12 Conference schools to open the season: at Oregon on Nov. 9 and at Oregon State on Nov. 11. CSUB then hosts Concordia-Irvine in the home opener on Nov. 20, a 7 p.m. game in the Icardo Center.
Other non-conference home games are Nov. 27 vs. Nebraska-Omaha; Dec. 19 vs. Houston Baptist and Dec. 30 vs. Fresno Pacific.
The WAC opener is Jan. 4 at Utah Valley and the first home WAC game is Jan. 16 vs. Seattle.
CSUB also has notable road games at UNLV on Nov. 23 and at Cal on Dec. 15. Cal was a Final Four team at the NCAA Tournament last season.