Soccer preview

When: 6 p.m., Friday, Oct.10What: Portland State (1-9-2) at Northern Colorado (5-8)Where: Jackson Soccer Stadium, Greeley, Colo.

Stars: As every team in the Big Sky begins conference play this weekend, the Bears are led offensively by junior forward Jessica Zimmerman, who is averaging better than three shots on goal per game. She has three goals and three assists for Northern Colorado on the season.

Portland State has struggled to score the ball in most of their games thus far, but their defense has been stout. Junior goal keeper Cris Lewis is among the finest goalies in the conference and tops in the conference in saves per game, averaging better than six.

Just a taste: This match represents the first of Portland State’s seven games against Big Sky competition as the Vikings renew their rivalry with Northern Colorado. Portland State owns a 3-0 all-time edge over the Bears, including a 1-0 shut-out last season.

But this year could bring a new result. Northern Colorado has shown promise early on including victories over Wyoming, Air Force and Oregon State. The Bears have struggled as of late, losing their last four. Portland State has not found the win column since Sept. 7, going 0-4-2 during that stretch.

If the nonconference schedule is any indication, the Vikings may struggle to improve upon their Big Sky record of 3-3-1 from last year, which earned them their first appearance in the conference tournament since 2004.