With the decision of the Division II Presidents Council back on May 20 to reduce the maximum number of regular season women's soccer games from 18 to 14 in 2020, Fort Hays State Women's Soccer will face MIAA opponents exclusively for the upcoming season.
The Tigers will play their usual 11-game conference slate, facing each MIAA team once in conference play. However, the Tigers will start their year with a pair of non-conference matches against MIAA foes Emporia State and Nebraska-Kearney in Hays, which fills in 13 of their 14 total matches allowed.
To ease the burden of finding non-conference matches in previous years under the 18-game model, the MIAA made three pods of four teams each. Schools within their four-team pod would each meet once in non-conference play in addition to their one meeting in conference play. Fort Hays State's pod consists of Emporia State, Nebraska-Kearney, and Washburn. This year, however, with the change in maximum number of regular season games allowed, the MIAA took away one of the three non-conference matches within a pod to keep its 8-team format for the conference tournament.
To keep an 8-team format for the MIAA Women's Soccer Tournament (Sunday, Nov. 8 through Sunday, Nov. 15), the 14th game of the season for MIAA teams will take place in either the first round (quarterfinals) of the MIAA Tournament, or as a "flex" game for teams finishing 9th through 12th in the conference standings. Winners of the first-round conference tournament games will advance on to semifinal matches at the site of the highest seed remaining, while one of the two "flex" game matches created by the MIAA office among the 9th through 12th place finishers will take place the same day as the quarterfinal round of the MIAA Tournament. This model, planned for just this season due to the reduction of games, creates a 14-game schedule for all 12 MIAA women's soccer teams.
Coaches have the option of setting their two non-conference games to start the season on either Friday or Sunday, as you will note from the new schedule posted online. The match with Emporia State to open the year will be on either September 11 or 13, and the following match with Nebraska-Kearney will be on either September 18 or 20. This is also an option the final week of the season when FHSU travels to Nebraska-Kearney for their designated conference match on either October 30 or November 1
Fort Hays State finished fifth in the MIAA standings last year at 6-3-2, while posting an overall mark of 10-6-2. The Tigers enter their fourth season under the guidance of head coach Blake Reynolds, posting at least 10 wins overall in all three of his seasons at the helm. The team will have several new faces this year with a mix of NCAA Division I transfers and true freshmen joining the mix.
Fort Hays State soccer schedule
9/13 Emporia State*
9/20 Nebraska Kearney*
9/27 @ Emporia State
10/2 Central Oklahoma
10/9 Missouri Western
10/11 Northwest Missouri
10/16 @ Central Missouri
10/18 @ Missouri Southern
10/23 @ Rogers State
10/25 @ Northeastern State
11/1 @ Nebraska Kearney
11/8 Flex Week
*Denotes Non-Conference Game
Games on 9/13, 9/20, and 11/1 may be
moved if both institutions are in agreement