The Oregon State women's soccer team is scheduled to leave early Wednesday morning on a trip to Florida. And based on the level of competition, this should be a challenging excursion.

I got in quick interviews with head coach Linus Rhode and senior Chelsea Buckland before the Beavers left town. A season preview on the team is scheduled to appear in Friday's edition.

OSU will face No. 3 Florida State on Friday and No. 9 Florida on Sunday. The Beavers will have their work cut out to leave the Sunshine State with a victory. Even if OSU loses both matches, it's an opportunity to see how they size up against a couple of the nation's top teams.

"We're starting to get a grasp of what we are trying to do defensively, which is important for this first weekend," Rhode said. "We're also working on getting some people healthy so we can starting working on offense as well."

The Beavers will play a tougher nonconference schedule this year compared to recent seasons. Texas will visit Corvallis on Aug. 30 followed by home games against Wisconsin on Sept. 1, UC Irvine on Sept. 6 and Hawaii on Sept. 8.

The Pac-12 opener for OSU arrives Sept. 27 at home vs. Washington.

If Buckland and Jenna Richardson are healthy and in top form, the Beavers should have a pretty tough front line for opposing defense to try to stop.

Look for that preview on Friday.

Brad Fuqua is a sports copy editor and sports writer at the Corvallis Gazette-Times. He can be reached via email at brad.fuqua@lee.net.

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