UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The West Virginia women’s soccer team takes to the road for the first time this season with a pair of matches at the 2012 Penn State Invitational. The Mountaineers face Central Michigan on Friday, Aug. 24, at 5 p.m., and battle No. 1 ranked Stanford on Sunday, Aug. 26, at 12 p.m.
“The first road trip is always exciting and both teams present a good challenge for us,” says senior midfielder Bri Rodriguez
West Virginia is coming off a 2-1 win over Western Carolina on Aug. 19. Sophomore forward Kate Schwindel
scored the game-winner, and true freshman Kailey Utley
recorded a multi-point game with one goal and one assist.
“The ladies have been working hard this week (at training), and really focusing on areas that need improvement,” says Coach Nikki Izzo-Brown.
WVU is 2-0-0 all-time against the Chippewas with victories coming in 2000 and 2010.
Neil Stafford is in his second season in charge of CMU soccer, his squad picked second in the Mid-American Conference preseason poll. The Chippewas return seven starters from a 15-3-3 squad that posted 13 shutouts in 2011.
“We are awfully familiar with CMU and know how good of a program they are,” says Izzo-Brown of any distraction of playing the nation’s top-ranked team on Sunday. “We are taking things one day at a time, let alone one game at a time. We’ll continue to stay focused for a tough match on Friday.”
“There’s no overlooking Central Michigan because we know they are a good program,” adds Rodriguez. “We have to take care of business Friday before even worrying about Stanford on Sunday. And Stanford gets everyone’s best shot, and we’ll do the same when the time comes.”
West Virginia’s meeting with Stanford, the defending national champions, is a first between the two programs.
Paul Ratcliffe is in his 10th season with the Cardinal, leading his teams to four-straight College Cup appearances. Preseason favorites in the Pac-12, Stanford returns seven starters from a year ago.
“With the quality of our schedule, we have to be focused for a full 90 minutes,” adds Izzo-Brown. “At any time, any one of our opponents can take advantage of an opportunity to capitalize on a lack of mental toughness.”
All matches will be played at Penn State’s Jeffrey Field and admission is free.