LOGAN, Utah – Utah State soccer will begin practice for the 2011 season on Wednesday, Aug. 3. The 2011 team will begin team training at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field from 4-6 p.m. The Aggies return 13 letterwinners and eight starters from last year’s team that finished 9-7-5 and advanced to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals. Utah State tied with San Jose State for a share of the WAC regular season title. USU brings back four seniors in goalkeeper Molli Merrill, forwards Shantel Flanary and Marissa Sanchez and midfielder Chandra Salmon-Christensen. In this season’s WAC preseason poll, USU and San Jose State tied for first with 42 points with both teams earning three first-place votes. Utah State was picked sixth in the 2005 preseason poll, the Aggies’ first year in the WAC, fourth in 2006 and third in both the 2007 and 2008 preseason prognostications. In both the 2009 and 2010 polls, USU was picked first. Utah State will open the 2011 campaign against in-state rival Weber State on Aug. 19. The Aggies open the home portion of the schedule against Portland State on Aug. 21 at 1 p.m. Following the match against the Vikings, the Aggies will play a pair of matches in the Centennial State, facing Colorado College on Aug. 26 and Northern Colorado on Aug. 28. Utah State begins its sixth season in the WAC with its longest trip of the season, taking on Hawai’i in its conference opener on Sept. 30. The Aggies will then host New Mexico State on Oct. 7 and Louisiana Tech on Oct. 9. There will be eight teams in the WAC this season. Utah State will host WAC 2010 regular season co-champs, San Jose State, Oct. 28 and WAC Tournament champions, Fresno State, Oct. 30 to end the regular season. The Aggies are on a quest to capture their third WAC regular season title in the last four years. Four all-WAC honorees return to the starting 11 for the Aggies. In addition to Flanary and Salmon-Christensen, all-conference defenders Natalie Norris and Summer Tillotson also return to pitch for USU. Flanary was the WAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2009, while Norris was the WAC Defensive Player of the Year last season. Salmon-Christensen is the first Aggie to earn first-team honors her first three seasons. Fans can follow USU soccer at http://twitter.com/USUsoccer and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.
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