The road to this seasons Great West championship appears to be a wide-open four-lane interstate as the teams prep for the beginning of conference play. If their pre-season records are any indication the UVU Wolverines should expect some stiff competition from the Huskies at Houston Baptist as well as the Fighting Sioux at North Dakota at the very least.
As the Wolverines prepare to travel to North Dakota to kick off conference play, here is a preview of how the rest of the conference has faired up to this point in the season and a look back on how they finished last season.
5 Houston Baptist Huskies 6-7-0 1-0-0
The Huskies have started this season on track to defend their championship from last year. They provided a dramatic finish to conference play defeating North Dakota 4-3 on penalty kicks following a 1-1 finish in regulation. They nearly ended the game at the horn as a shot found the back of the net but it was waived off by the referees saying it was not in time.
They have followed the same philosophy that the Wolverines follow in scheduling and playing tough teams early on to prepare for the regular season. They took on Rice and UTEP on the road while playing Houston and TCU at home. Just as the Wolverines have found out, that is not the easiest road to take dropping all four contests and they were outscored 11-0.
3 University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux 4-5-2 1-0-0
As mentioned earlier, North Dakota played for last seasons championship and came extremely close to pulling it out. This was an amazing feet considering their record up leading up to conference play was 1-10-1.
The Fighting Sioux have lost 3-0 against their only big name opponent up to this point in the season, Western Michigan. This year they come into conference play in much better position and look like strong contenders for the championship again this year
10 New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders 1-9-0 0-0-0
The Highlanders pick up this season right were they left off from last year. Unfortunately for them their overall record for last year was 4-13-1.
Expectation levels this year weren’t too high after the season they put together last year and any visions of grandeur were quickly put to bed before conference play had a chance to get going.
8 South Carolina State University Bulldogs 2-5-2 0-0-0
The Bulldogs finished regular season play undefeated in conference going 6-0. Their undefeated run came to a close in the first round of the playoffs losing 3-2 to North Dakota.
An up and down preseason hopes to help with their resiliency as they start on the road in conference play. What may get them on the road to another undefeated run is that they open up against a hapless Howard team that has started off this year with only one victory.
2 Utah Valley University Wolverines 5-6-0 0-0-0
Last season the Wolverines lost their bid to repeat as champions in a double overtime thriller against eventual champs Houston Baptist. In a game that looked to be headed for penalty kicks, lost on a goal in the 105th minute ending the game and the season by a score of 1-0. The loss put their final record 10-9-1.
Had UVU found a way to win the championship last year, this season would have been a potential three-peat for the Wolverines. A 5-6 record is not where they want to be but in this conference it has by no means put them out of contention for a successful season.
Lauren Sack is last years conference player of the year and has had a strong start to the season this year. For them make a run deep in the post season tournament this year, this young team will rely heavily on her to keep them in a lot of games.
7 Howard University Bison 1-8-1 0-1-0
Last season the Bison ended up 6-10 overall and 3-3 in conference. They weren’t much of a factor and may not be again this year.
The Bison will need to win most of their games to come close to last years overall record which shows just how bad they have been this year.
9 Delaware State Hornets 1-11-1 0-1-0
For as bad as Howard was last year, Delaware State wins the competition for the worst record as they finished 1-18. That may be the only thing they win the rest of this year as the Hornets have already notched a win and a tie.