WVU set for matches against No. 6 Penn State, Miami
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012 23:08
Using confidence from their huge win against then No. 1 Stanford Sunday, the No. 24 West Virginia women’s soccer team will host the WVU 90 Minute Classic this weekend at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
"(Stanford) was definitely a huge win for us," said sophomore goalkeeper Sara Keane. "It just showed that we (could) play with the big teams, even though we’ve had two rough losses. I think (the Stanford game) will boost our morale for this weekend."
Keane and the Mountaineers will have to be on top of their game this weekend against two formidable opponents.
Head coach Nikki Izzo- Brown and her team will welcome No. 6 Penn State, Miami and Pittsburgh to Morgantown for the tournament. With the Mountaineers’ match against No. 6 Penn State coming tonight, WVU cannot bask in the glory of taking down No. 1 for long.
"(Coach Izzo-Brown) made sure we put the (Stanford) game behind us and look forward to Penn State and Miami," Keane said. "We can be happy about Stanford, but we cannot dwell on that. We need to look forward to Friday night’s game."
Penn State enters tonight’s battle against the Mountaineers with a 3-1 record. The Nittany Lions’ only loss this season came against Stanford in the Penn State Invitational Friday – the same tournament West Virginia went on to beat the formerly No. 1 ranked Cardinal.
Penn State is a relatively familiar opponent to the Mountaineers. Last season, just like many of the past seasons, West Virginia played the Nittany Lions during its non-conference schedule. West Virginia suffered a 5-0 beating at the hands of the Nittany Lions, making Keane crave vengeance against PSU.
"We are hungry this year, especially after what happened last season," Keane said.
After battling with the Nittany Lions Friday, Izzo-Brown and the Mountaineers will have a quick turnaround before taking on the Miami Hurricanes out of the Atlantic Coastal Conference.
The Hurricanes are coming off a 1-0 overtime loss to No. 9 Central Florida. Miami will open play in the WVU 90 Minute Classic against Pittsburgh Friday, before taking on the Mountaineers Sunday at noon.
With the Mountaineers’ first shutout of the season coming in the Stanford win, Keane is hoping the right bodies are finally in the right place.
Before the match with The Cardinal, Izzo-Brown moved sophomore Jess Crowder from her attacking midfield position to the back line. In her third career start, Crowder was named the Big 12 Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week, while helping the Mountaineers to their first shutout of the season.
"I think our (back line) is better now," Keane said. "I think it is more confident after the shutout against Stanford. There are still a lot of things we need to work on, but that is always going to be the case."
Aside from a crippling defense, Keane hopes there is another advantage for the Mountaineers when they take on Penn State tonight. Coming off such a big win, the Mountaineers are using social media to get fans to Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium this weekend.
"I know people (are sending) Facebook invites and things on Twitter, so we are hoping for a big crowd," she said. "We always get a good crowd under the lights against a team like Penn State."