The Wolf Pack soccer team opens its season this weekend with matches against Pacific and Penn State in California this weekend. Nevada was picked to finish sixth in the Western Athletic Conference following a 2010 campaign that saw the team finish a disappointing 7-9-3.

This year’s team may not fare any better. The team does return Danielle Green and Kori Disarunfino, but lost seniors Cristen Drummond, Jill Erickson and Natalie Ratnavira. The trio accounted for 10 of the team’s 27 goals in 2010. It also remains to be seen whether goalkeeper Dana Moreno can step into a full-time starter. For the past few seasons, Marie Cove has been a steady pair of hands in the goal, but she graduated as well, meaning Moreno will be front and center for much of the season. But, in eight games last season, Moreno had a save-to-goal ratio of just two-to-one. Cove had one of more than four-to-one and the Wolf Pack went 0-5-1 in the six games Moreno started.

The key to the team’s success will be how easily it can create opportunities. The Wolf Pack had 118 shots on goal, 24 less than it gave up to its opponents. Nevada must be able to get good, quality shots easier than it did last year. The team struggled to consistently move the ball and retain control, and that won’t cut it this year either.

Clearly this year’s team has its work cut out for them. Nevada had a monumental collapse, losing five matches in a row and having just one victory in its final seven matches of the season, that cost it a chance at the WAC Tournament. With a young team and new players having to step up, ┬áhead coach Missy Price and the Wolf Pack may not fare much better than this year. I think another season below .500 is in store for Nevada.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at