No. 14 WVU Closes Out Regular Season


By Tim Goodenow for WVUsports.com
October 25, 2012 11:12 AM
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 14 West Virginia women’s soccer team closes out the regular season with a road trip to Texas on Friday, Oct. 26. Kickoff at Mike A. Myers Stadium is slated for 8:30 p.m. EDT and will be televised on the Longhorn Network.

ESPN's Monica Gonzalez will serve as analyst and Glenn Davis will handle the play-by-play duties for Friday’s final Big 12 Conference match. Gonzalez is a former member of the Mexico national women's team and was part of the 2004 Olympic team. Davis is a former U.S. professional soccer player and was a NAIA All-American.

“Friday is a big game for us with a lot at stake with seeding still to be determined for Texas,” says coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “We want to finish out conference play unbeaten and improve our RPI. It’s important to finish on a strong note heading into postseason play.”

The Longhorns are the only Big 12 program West Virginia has faced prior to this season. Texas scored a 2-1 win over the visiting Mountaineers in the 2004 NCAA Tournament Second Round, the only meeting between the schools.

Preseason All-Big 12 forwards Kate Schwindel and Frances Silva have combined for 19 goals and nine assists to lead the WVU offense. Twelve different players on the current roster have scored a goal in their Mountaineer careers.

The Mountaineers (10-3-4) are coming off a solid 2-0 win over visiting Oklahoma on Oct. 18. West Virginia outshot OU 12-2 in the second half, scoring on goals from midfielder Amanda Hill and forward Kate Schwindel. The Mountaineer defense eliminated several scoring tries, allowing only five shots on the night.

“We have been improving each week, and hopefully can carry that momentum into our final regular-season game,” says Izzo-Brown.

Coach Angela Kelly is in her first season at UT, joining the Longhorns after 12 successful years at Tennessee. Two Longhorns were named Preseason All-Big 12 in seniors Kristin Cummins and Hannah Higgins.

“There is a lot of talent on the Texas roster, and I had the opportunity to work with their goalkeeper Abby Smith with the Under-20 national team,” says Izzo-Brown. “She is very athletic and extremely hard to score on because she covers so much ground.”

Texas (7-9-1) is led defensively by Smith, only a rookie. She has appeared in only nine matches after missing the first eight contests while playing with the U.S. U20 national team. A young, but athletic back line has helped Texas post six shutouts on the season, while allowing only four goals in Big 12 play – the fewest in the Conference.

Offensively, the UT offense features a balanced attack led by midfielder Sharis Lachappelle’s team-best five goals. Cummins and Higgins have combined for seven goals and eight assists, with four-game winning scores.

West Virginia is riding a 12-match unbeaten streak.

Fans can follow the action via GameTracker at WVUsports.com.


Tags
WVU Women's Soccer, NCAA Women's Soccer, WVU Mountaineers


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