THIS WEEK
The University of Oregon soccer team will get one final test before opening the 2013 season with an exhibition match against UC Davis on Saturday. The Ducks and Aggies will play at 5 p.m. at the Aggie Soccer Stadium in Davis, Calif.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
The Aggies went 8-9-2 overall last season with a 3-5-1 record in the Big West Conference, tying for sixth in the league. UC Davis returns almost all of their talent from last season; 27 letterwinners and 10 starters. Head coach Maryclaire Robinson enters her 21st year with the program.

NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE
Oregon kicks off the 2013 season on Friday, Aug. 23, against Portland State at Pape’ Field. First touch is set for 5:00 p.m. The Ducks start the season with a nine-game home stand.

OREGON WELCOMES NEW STAFF
The University of Oregon women’s soccer team will open a new era this season with the introduction of head coach Kat Mertz and a brand new coaching staff. Assistant coaches Hediki Nakada and Christie Welsh round out Mertz’s staff.

Mertz spent the last season at St. Louis, and also has collegiate coaching experience at Texas (assistant), UNLV, UCLA (assistant) and Virginia (assistant). On top of her 54-48-20 collegiate coaching record, Mertz was been a major part of the United States Women’s Youth National Teams.

Nakada spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach at Marquette University. Nakada is a graduate of San Francisco and a three-year veteran of the Japan J-League first and second division. Welsh joins Mert’z staff after spending last season as an assistant at St. Joseph’s. Welsh, a former Hermann Trophy winner and U.S. National Team member, was one of the most decorated players in Penn State and Big Ten history.

2013 SCHEDULE RELEASED
Oregon announced its finalized 2013 fall schedule, which will include 13 home matches played on Pape’ Field. The Ducks will play 19 regular season games; eight against nonconference foes and 11 against Pac-12 opponents.

The Ducks face a daunting schedule of strong nonconference teams and elite Pac-12 foes, but will benefit from a nine-game home stand to open the season.

Oregon begins the season Aug. 23 against Portland State, and will kick off Pac-12 play on Sept. 26 against Washington State. The Ducks close the season with three road games, ending with the Civil War against Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore., on Nov. 7.

OREGON ADDS 6 NEWCOMERS TO 2013 ROSTER
Kat Mertz and the Ducks added six newcomers to the 2013 roster. The soccer team welcomed five players out of high school and one transfer. Freshmen Ashlee Schulz (Springfield, Ore.), Caitlyn Wong (Sunnyvale, Calif.), ShayLee Miner (Junction City, Ore.) and Emmy Rodriguez (Pleasanton, Calif.) and Lauren Holden (San Ramon, Calif.) join the roster, as well as West Virginia transfer Mia Gunter (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada).

2013 ROSTER BREAKDOWN
The University of Oregon soccer team returns 17 letterwinners and five starters from a 2012 squad that finished 8-10-2 overall and 3-7-1 in conference play..

RETURNING PLAYERS (20):
Abby Steele, Dana Connors, Bri Pugh, Achijah Berry, Maryn Beutler, Kelsey Foo, Reilley Moore, Kira Wagoner, Kiyomi Cook, Kristen Parr, Riley Smith, Shanelle Simien, Brooke Strawn, Kendall Brooke, Ryan Davie, Lilly Archer, Allie Rodriguez and Gabbie Lindeman.

 PLAYERS LOST (12):
Lauren Thompson, Scout Libke, Mo Fitzgerald, Maddy Mercier, Cara Wegner, Ally Aschbacker, Brynne Konkel, Mariah Powers, Kelsey Hones, Casey Wilhelm, Nicole Bakke and Taylor Boyer.

NEWCOMERS (6):
Ashlee Schulz, Caitlyn Wong, ShayLee Miner, Lauren Holden, Emmy Rodriguez and Mia Gunter (So.)

PAC-12 CONFERENCE PRE-SEASON POLL ANNOUNCED
Oregon was selected to finish 11th in the Pac-12 Conference by the pre-season women’s soccer coaches’ poll. The Ducks received 21 total points, putting them ahead of Arizona. UCLA received 7-of-11 first-place votes and was selected to finish first, while Stanford was picked runner-up.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
Oregon will meet seven opponents that are ranked or receiving votes in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Poll; Stanford (2), UCLA (5), BYU (6), California (20), Portland (22), USC (RV) and Arizona State (RV)

DUCKS RELOAD OFFENSIVE TALENT
Oregon returns five of its top-six leading scorers from 2012, including Kristen Parr, who totaled 14 points off seven goals. Bri Pugh (6 points), Achijah Berry (4), Maryn Beutler (3) and Kira Wagoner (3) also return after successful 2012 campaigns.

STEELE CURTAIN
Oregon will be solid between the posts this season as junior Abby Steele returns a wealth of talent. After just two seasons, the Santa Rosa, Calif., native ranks fifth in career saves (153), fourth in shutouts (8), sixth in goalkeeper wins (10) and first in career goals allowed average (1.33). Steele made 78 saves last season and allowed just 20 goals in over1,710 minutes played.

DUCKS WELL REPRESENTED ON PAC-12 ALL-ACADEMIC TEAMS
Eleven University of Oregon women’s soccer student-athletes were named Pac-12 women’s sonner All-Academic honorable mentions. Those players were Nicole Bakke, Achijah Berry, Ryann Davie, Mo Fitzgerald, Kelsey Foo, Kelsey Hones, Scout Libke, Maddy Mercier, Bri Pugh, Allie Rodriguez and Lauren Thompson.