Column - Izzo-Brown and WVU women’s soccer not to be forgotten
Published: Thursday, April 5, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2012 09:04
With the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments controlling most of the media coverage over the past month, some sports have been slightly overlooked.
One in particular has been the spring season of the
defending Big East Conference champion West Virginia women’s soccer team.
Head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown has established a brand of winning in Morgantown that has led to three Big East championships in the last five years and 12 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances – tied for the nation’s ninth longest streak.
The Mountaineers are about halfway through the 2012 spring slate, as they began with an exhibition March 3 and will end with an exhibition against Alderson-Broaddus College April 29.
The spring season has always been a time when Izzo-Brown and her staff focus on player development and team cohesion.
However, this spring has been a little different.
Injuries to many key players combined with another impact player spending extended time with the
Canadian National Team has forced the squad to throw many inexperienced players into action.
In fact, during the Mountaineers 4-0 defeat at the hands of Maryland, nine freshmen were on the field at once.
But learning from defeats is one of the many purposes of the spring season. Wins and losses are not kept, which Izzo-Brown won’t hesitate to say she’s thankful for— and no statistics carry over to the
The playing time the young members of the squad are experiencing now is priceless and will only translate into success in the future.
Six seniors from last year’s team will not be returning for the 2012 campaign. The class was one of the most successful in program history, while recording a four-year record of 53-19-13.
But, a talented core will be returning.
One of the main questions this team will need to answer before next season is who will replace departed senior Blake Miller as the go-to goal scorer.
Miller finished fifth in school history in both career points and goals.
This question may already be answered, though.
Just last week, while the Mountaineers were in Spain, sophomore forward Frances Silva scored all of the team’s six goals in four exhibition games.
My point is clear.
The West Virginia women’s soccer team has faced a lot of adversity over the past few months.
A first-round defeat in the NCAA tournament, the
departing of six talented seniors and multiple injuries have made this spring season extremely difficult for Izzo-Brown.
But overcoming challenges has become a way of life for the veteran head coach since she became the first to hold the position in program
history 16 short years ago.
The Mountaineers will be just fine.