The emotion and celebration of Senior Night have faded away and a familiar goal has reentered the minds of the West Virginia women’s soccer team. The No. 6 Mountaineers will close out their regular season this weekend on the road against Oklahoma and No. 18 Texas Tech. Just one more victory would ensure the team’s second consecutive Big 12 Conference title.
West Virginia enters this weekend with a 12-2-2 record and as winners of eight straight games. The team continued their Big 12 dominance Friday when WVU beat Kansas 2-0 to improve to 6-0 in the league. The team will travel to face the Sooners Friday before flying to Texas Tech for a Sunday showdown.
Oklahoma earned its first conference win Friday when the Sooners beat TCU 1-0. Despite its lowly 4-11-1 record, Oklahoma hung tough against some of the nation’s top schools. The team lost to No. 3 Florida State just 1-0 in early September and were beaten 2-1 when they hosted Texas Tech two weeks ago.
“(Oklahoma’s) record does not reflect the quality of who they are,” said WVU head coach Nikki Izzo- Brown. “We’re not playing against a record; we’re playing against a team on that given day, because anything can happen. Especially with Oklahoma and the personality that they have, they’re pretty good. It’s just that, unfortunately, they haven’t gotten the results.”
The Sooners are last in the Big 12 with just 16 goals in 16 games. The team is led by junior midfielder Abby Hodgen who has scored three goals this season. However, the lack of offensive firepower will not turn down the electricity of the environment Oklahoma brings. The Sooners lead the conference this season in total attendance with an average of more than 1,000 fans per match.
After the match Friday night, the Mountaineers will close their 2013 regular season against Texas Tech in the marquee match up of the Big 12 this season. The Red Raiders are 3-0-2 in the league this season and 13-1-2 overall. In fact, Texas Tech is ranked higher in several national polls across the country.
Tech’s lone loss came Sept. 1 when the team was defeated by Long Beach State. Since then, the Red Raiders have rattled off a 12-match unbeaten streak with draws to Oklahoma State and Baylor.
The Red Raiders pose a bigger threat offensively for West Virginia than anyone in the Big 12. Texas Tech is second in goals this season with 38, right behind WVU. Janine Beckie and Alli Murphy lead Tech with six and five goals, respectively. Texas Tech has 10 players on the roster with multiple goals this season.
A win against Oklahoma Friday night would clinch the conference regular season title for the Mountaineers for the second straight season. However, the team continues to be focused on one game at a time and have no plans on backing down to the Raiders, no matter the outcome of Friday’s match.
“It’s all about finishing out; it’s not just about winning the Big 12,” said senior forward Frances Silva. “Whether we have clinched it Friday or not, we’re still going to go out pretty hard on Sunday.”
West Virginia closes out its regular season Friday at Oklahoma with kickoff set for 8 p.m. Sunday’s match at Texas Tech begins at 7 p.m.