MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Though she has been donning the gold and blue since 2012, junior defender Maggie Bedillion
experienced a first with the No. 11 West Virginia University women’s soccer team last weekend – she was a part of the team’s starting 11.
“This is a great opportunity to play with Keish (Kadeisha Buchanan
) and Carly (Black) in the back, to learn from everyone and to connect with the team,” Bedillion, a Washington, Pennsylvania, native said of her new role. “This is an awesome experience.”
Bedillion played the full 90 minutes in both contests last weekend at the Penn State Invitational, a stark adjustment to 2013, when she played a career-high 38 minutes in back-to-back matches against Eastern Kentucky and Kentucky.
“Maggie has really stepped in and done a great job in the back line for us,” said Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “She’s been so solid and so effective in what we’ve asked her to do. I’m really proud of her taking on this starting position and being so effective.”
Bedillion may earn her first career start at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium tonight, as she and her No. 11-ranked teammates open their home season against No. 21 Duke at 7:30 p.m. After opening the year with a 1-1 showing last weekend, Bedillion believes the Mountaineers are ready to prove themselves in front of their home crowd.
“We are excited,” she enthused. “We’re going to come out strong and with heart because it’s a home game. Our fans will really help.”
There are plenty of deals surrounding the Mountaineers’ opening weekend at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. Tonight is a “Dollar Night,” with all tickets, hot dogs, popcorn and Coca-Colas available for $1 each. Additionally, all fans can pick up a 2014 women’s soccer schedule poster. Tonight also is a “Gold Rush, and fans are encouraged to wear gold in support of the Mountaineers.
WVU plays host to Elon on Sunday at 1 p.m. Tickets for the match are $5 for adults, and just $3 for youth and seniors. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets for $2 each. Additionally, fans can print a coupon for one free popcorn at the concession stand on the team’s Twitter (@WVUWomensSoccer
) and Facebook (/WVUWomensSoccer
Following a five-point (1 G, 3 A) weekend at the PSU Invitational, junior forward Kelsie Maloney
was named the Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Week. The honor was the first career award for the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, native. She also landed on the CS360 Primetime Performers Honor Roll.
Maloney’s five points are tops in the Big 12 Conference. Additionally, she ranks No. 2 in assists. Senior forward Kate Schwindel
is tied at No. 1 in goals (2) and game-winning goals (1).
Prior to a busy Wednesday training session, coach Izzo-Brown took a few minutes to answer questions from fans.
From Sonya Renee Hedrick: What do you think was most important in building a program from scratch while consistently winning? Do you adjust your scheme to allow you to recruit the best players possible, or do you look to fill certain needs?
Coach Izzo-Brown: Patience. Patient, but hard working. You have to understand that you’re going to take your lumps, but you must be very forward-thinking. You can’t build a program overnight. It’s important to build a culture, and that’s what I’ve always focused on.
We recruit so young now. We definitely recruit needs, but we focus on versatile players.
From Scott Mullins: Do you ever teach coaching clinics? Where? Thanks!
Coach Izzo-Brown: I have, and it’s definitely something I’m open to doing in Morgantown.
From Rosemary Farley Warman: Do you have a Canadian connection? How do you recruit all these great Canadian players?
Coach Izzo-Brown: It just makes sense because of distance and the quality of athletes and soccer in the Ontario area. Morgantown is just a drive for these athletes and their families. We understand that area, and the connection there has worked out for our program and our athletes.
From @FastLoudGuitar: What are coach Izzo-Brown’s core tactics/strategies/philosophies when it comes to offense and defense?
Coach Izzo-Brown: Hard work is needed on both ends, for sure. The core to both philosophies is hard work. The defense has to be organized. There needs to be communication, and there has to be some purpose. Most importantly, we defend as a unit, so everyone has to defend.
From Nikki Goodenow: Who is your favorite alum?
Coach Izzo-Brown: I’m not answering that – it’s a loaded question. Every single one of them is my favorite!
From Blake Marie: Is there a loophole for graduated players to return?
Coach Izzo-Brown: If you find it, Blake, you’re the first one back! I would love to have you back!
For those that can’t join the team in Morgantown tonight or Sunday, both matches will be streamed HERE
, presented by Kroger. Also, links for live scores are HERE