No. 21 W. Soccer Prepped for Weekend

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • September 19, 2013 04:37 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 21-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team closes out its nonconference season this weekend at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

The Mountaineers (4-2-2) play host to Richmond (2-4-2) on Sept. 20, at 7 p.m., then welcome Wright State (2-3-3) on Sept. 22, for a 1 p.m. match.

The first 50 fans on Friday night receive a mini soccer ball, and the next 100 fans will receive a team-signed poster.

On Sunday, fans can take a picture with the Big 12 Regular-Season Championship trophy in the stadium concourse. Additionally, weather permitting, the Mountaineers will host a free soccer clinic for kids 13 and under at Dreamswork Field following the game. The clinic will be 45 minutes long and will feature instruction from the WVU coaches and players. Participants must sign up before halftime, and players should bring a ball, cleats and shin guards. Free giveaways and pizza, courtesy of Papa John’s, will be provided.

“It’s going to be huge this weekend that we have a home crowd behind us for these two games,” says Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “This is a great weekend for us to have the best fans show up and push us forward to two wins. We’re going to be battling out there this weekend, and we’ll need the support.”

WVU is 1-1-1 all-time against Richmond. The Mountaineers scored their first victory over the Spiders in their last meeting, earning a 3-0 win at the James Madison Invitational on Aug. 25, 2006.

Sunday’s meeting is the first between the Mountaineers and the Raiders. WVU is 1-1-1 against first-time opponents this season, defeating Eastern Kentucky, 4-0, on Aug. 13, losing 4-2 to then-No. 1 North Carolina on Sept. 8 and playing to a 1-1 double-overtime draw at then-No. 12 Duke on Sept. 6.

The Mountaineers enter this weekend averaging a Big 12-best 2.4 goals a game. Senior forward Frances Silva ranks No. 1 in the conference, No. 32 nationally, with 15 points. The Overland Park, Kan., native has earned at least one point in every match this season and boasts a 1.88 points-per-game average. Additionally, with 28 career goals, she sits tied at No. 8 on the Mountaineers’ all-time list with assistant coach Marisa Kanela.

Silva, along with junior forward Kate Schwindel, ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 with a team-best five goals this season. The duo has accounted for a combined 55 shots through eight matches, and Schwindel boasts a conference-best 3.75 shot average.

WVU looks to bounce back from its first home loss, a 4-2 defeat to Kentucky on Sept. 15. Schwindel and Silva each netted a goal against the Wildcats, but two UK scores in the first 22 minutes, including a goal10 seconds in, proved to be too much of a deficit for the Mountaineers to overcome. The four goals allowed were the first points earned by a WVU opponent at Dick Dlesk this season.

“It’s so important after a bit of adversity to respond the right way,” says Izzo-Brown. “I feel good after our training this week. I think our minds are in the right spot, and I think everyone understands we can’t put ourselves in those types of situations against great teams; we’ll get punished. We have to eliminate mental errors.

“I thought we did a good enough job at moments (against UK), but we have to complete a game and it has to be 90 minutes of mental toughness and focus. That’s what we lacked on Sunday. Sometimes, it’s good to get a jolt like that to understand how important your role is and to know how to play inside your role. That’s been my biggest battle cry this week.”

Prior to their loss, the Mountaineers thumped EKU, 4-0. Schwindel and sophomore defender Cari Price tallied goals in the first half, while freshmen midfielders Ashley Lawrence and Tessa Broadwater each scored their first career goals in the second half.

The shutout against the Colonels was the third of the season for senior goalkeeper Sara Keane. She now shows 20 shutouts for her career and ranks No. 4 in the Mountaineer record book.

The Spiders went 1-0-1 at the VCU Tournament last weekend, defeating Campbell, 2-0, on Sept. 13, and playing to a 0-0 double-overtime draw against Maine on Sept. 15. Forwards Erin Layne and Becca Wann have scored a team-best two goals each this season.

The Raiders most recently dropped a 4-3 decision to Butler on Sept. 18, at Alumni Field, in Dayton, Ohio. WSU battled back from a 3-1 deficit but couldn’t muster the final push for the draw. Forward Emilie Fillion owns a team-best 10 points (4 goals, 2 assists).

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