No. 16 WVU to play at Kansas, Iowa State
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2012 08:10
For the second-straight weekend, the No. 16 West Virginia women’s soccer team will enter a hostile Big 12 soccer stadium when it travels to Kansas and Iowa State this weekend.
"Obviously, it’s going to be totally a new environment for us – something we’ve never faced," said WVU head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. "There is that unknown element."
Izzo-Brown is sure of one thing with which the Mountaineers will be confronted this weekend when they travel to Kansas Friday to take on the Jayhawks and Iowa State Sunday where they will face the Cyclones.
"We know that there are going to be big crowds, and some of those things we can’t control," she said. "I’ve said it from the beginning, it’s like NCAA (tournament) time. You don’t know your opponent that well, you’re getting on the road (and) you have to win games."
West Virginia has managed to earn top spot in the Big 12 Conference this far into their inaugural season. Izzo-Brown and the Mountaineers will be looking to remain top dog this weekend when they travel to Lawrence, Kan.
The Jayhawks enter Friday’s battle with an 8-3 overall record. Their 2-1 conference record is good enough for fourth in the Big 12. Both the Jayhawks and Mountaineers are coming off wins at TCU. West Virginia took down the Horned Frogs 2-1, while Kansas needed overtime to earn a 3-2 victory.
West Virginia will not be able to dwell on the Kansas game long, because they will head to Iowa State Sunday. The Cyclones are 8-6 on the season, but 0-3 in conference – pushing them to last in the Big 12.
Despite the quick turnaround, Izzo-Brown and the Mountaineers are used to the schedule. Up until West Virginia’s first Big 12 season, their yearly schedule consisted of mostly Friday and Sunday games. Since leaving the Big East, this year’s schedule has left the Mountaineers to sometimes go a week at a time without having a game. The extended time off has left Izzo-Brown with some unexpected time on her hands.
"I don’t know if I’ve had a Sunday off in September, like last weekend, in 17 years," Izzo-Brown said. "It’s definitely different. I think I am on both sides of that camp because I like (the break) for the rest part, but when you get to the NCAA tournament, you have to compete Friday and Sunday."
Despite the new schedule, Izzo-Brown and the Mountaineers are simply concentrating on winning games. With the Big 12 tournament vastly approaching and the NCAA tournament looming after, Izzo-Brown knows West Virginia cannot let its foot off the gas now.
"I’ve always said it is so much more important to fulfill your own destiny," Izzo-Brown said. "At this point we are focusing (on) one game at a time, and we want to control our own destiny.
"Obviously that is to get to San Antonio and win this Big 12 championship."