WVU opens Big 12 play
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012 07:09
The West Virginia women’s soccer team will get its first Big 12 Conference test this weekend, as it takes on Texas Tech Friday night, before squaring off against the league’s defending champion, Oklahoma State Sunday.
"I’m excited to finally get to conference play so everyone can see what we’re all about," said West Virginia head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. "There is nothing to be nervous about at this point."
Texas Tech head coach Tom Stone return for his sixth season at Texas Tech. Eight starters join Stone’s return from a team that won 10 matches one year ago.
Texas Tech is coming off two wins on the West Coast, a double overtime victory against No. 20 Long Beach State 3-2, and a 2-1 win over Cal State Fullerton.
Midfielder Janine Beckie was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week after scoring three goals last weekend. Beckie leads Texas Tech’s offense with six goals and two assists on team-best 48 shots.
All-American defender Jaelene Hinkle and sophomore goalkeeper Victoria Esson lead the defense for the Red Raiders. Last year they allowed just 18 goals and that solid play has carried over to the 2012 season, as Texas Tech has four shutouts in its first nine games of the season.
"They play a 4-4-2 at the box. Everyone’s system looks different and it’s going to be different than what we’ve seen," Izzo-Brown said. "They’re strong, big, physical. They remind me of a team like Marquette."
Oklahoma State head coach Colin Carmichael enters his eighth season with the team. Oklahoma State is coming off its best season in school history with a 22-2-2 record and a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight for the second year in a row.
After entering the season with a 2011 Big 12 regular-season title, The Cowgirls return with six starters from last season. The team has a 9-1-0 record, with its only loss to Oklahoma for the first time in seven years. OSU has been kept off the scoreboard only once this season.
All-Big 12 pick in 2011 forward Megan Marchesano, leads the offense with six goals and two assists.
Two-time All-American goalkeeper and U.S. Youth National Team member, AD Franch leads the Cowgirls’ defense. Joining Franch is returning player and All-league performer Carson Michalowski. Michalowski was a part of the 2011 back line that posted an NCAA-best 18 shutouts in 2011.
"Big 12 attendance is one of the best in the country, it’s record breaking. We want to give the Big 12 a warm welcome and I hope we make their atmosphere just as difficult as it’s going to be for us next weekend going to TCU," Izzo-Brown said. "I’m hoping everyone comes out so everyone in the Big 12 knows how difficult our crowd can be."
Prior to Friday’s game against Texas Tech, the Mountaineer Maniacs will be hosting a pre-game tailgate with pizza courtesy of Papa John’s.
For Sunday’s game against the defending champions, a free shuttle bus service will be available to WVU students from the Mountainlair and the Brooke/Braxton Tower loop 11 a.m.-noon. Return service to the Mountainlair and Brooke/Braxton Towers will be available after the game.