WVU looks to continue success in Big 12
Published: Thursday, August 16, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 16, 2012 12:08
After winning two straight Big East Conference championships, the No. 20 West Virginia women’s soccer team is heading into 2012 looking to carry that success into the Big 12 Conference.
"It is bittersweet (leaving the Big East), but at the same time it’s exciting to go out there and try something new," said senior defender Bry McCarthy. "I’m excited to see how other schools play."
West Virginia will return seven starters this season, including six players who have previously earned all-conference recognition, including McCarthy, senior midfielder Bri Rodriguez, junior forward Frances Silva, sophomore forward Kate Schwindel and redshirt sophomore Sara Keane.
Even with the experienced players on the roster, most of this year’s WVU team is young, consisting of many freshmen and sophomores.
West Virginia began preseason practice Aug. 1, going through two-a-days consisting of strength and conditioning workouts, as well as individual and team meetings.
"It’s good to be toward the top of the conference, but we have a lot of work to do," said head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown.
On Aug. 10 the Mountaineers played their first of two preseason games, a 4-1 victory over Akron in which sophomore midfielder Jess Crowder scored two goals.
During its final scrimmage of the preseason, WVU played a 1-1 draw against Pittsburgh.
Although the Mountaineers weren’t satisfied with a tie, they are hoping to learn from the experience and get ready for the season opener.
"The success and hard work these ladies have done has always put us in a position where there is pressure to succeed, and we’ve got to remember how hard we’ve worked for that respect, so we know what’s coming," Izzo-Brown said.
The Mountaineers’ 2012 schedule consists of eight teams that made it to the 2011 NCAA tournament.
"Our schedule has a good mix of conference and nonconference opponents that will help prepare us to make a deep postseason run," Izzo-Brown said.
The season opener will take place at home in the Dick Dlesk Stadium against La Salle today at 7 p.m. La Salle will return with eight starters.
Fans are encouraged to wear gold and attend the WVU 90 Minute Classic Aug. 31, against Penn State University. The Mountaineer Maniacs will be giving away gold T-shirts to the first 100 fans through the gate.
The Mountaineers will play in their first Big 12 game against Texas Tech at home Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 23 at noon, the Mountaineers will take on defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma State.
West Virginia’s final home match Thursday, Oct. 18 against Oklahoma will be Senior Night for the five Mountaineer seniors.
The Big 12 Quarterfinals will be held Oct. 31 in San Antonio, Semifinals will be held Nov. 2, and Big 12 Finals will be held Nov. 4 at Blossom Soccer Stadium.
The Mountaineers also earned the No. 23 ranking in Soccer America’s preseason poll.