No. 10 Women's Soccer Welcomes Texas

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • October 03, 2013 03:45 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 10-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team opens a four-match homestand this Friday, Oct. 4, against Texas, at 7 p.m., at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

Friday is a “Dollar Night,” with all tickets, hot dogs, popcorn and Coca-Colas available for $1 each. Admission is free for WVU students with a valid student ID. The game also is a Gold Rush, and all fans are encouraged to wear gold.

A Soctoberfest celebration will be held at the stadium, featuring an evening full of American and German food and drink, including a Biergarten. German dishes such as sausage, pretzels, potato salad and more will be served, while Oktoberfest beers and domestic beers also will be available for purchase.

Fall Family Weekend also opens this Friday on campus, and Mountaineer Parents Club members are encouraged to attend the soccer match. Kids under 13, who bring a completed Musket Coloring Sheet to the gate, will receive one free youth admission and will be entered into a drawing to win a plush Musket toy. The coloring sheet can be found at WVUsports.com.

Friday’s match, the first-ever between the teams in Morgantown, features the Big 12 Conference’s top-two programs, as the Mountaineers (8-2-2, 2-0 Big 12) and the Longhorns (8-3-1, 2-0 Big 12) were the only two squads to earn two wins in the league’s first weekend of play.

“This is a big game – Texas is 2-0 in the conference, and so are we,” explains Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “We are seeking every competitive edge we can get this weekend. This is a Gold Rush, and we need that gold to be all over the burnt orange and to give them a warm welcome. We need the Mountaineers to come out in packs and make sure we have an army in that stadium welcoming the Longhorns. We’re really going to need our fans behind us – any competitive edge will help us because Texas is that good.”

WVU and UT have met twice before, and the each team owns one win in the all-time series. The Mountaineers earned their first victory over the Longhorns last season with a 1-0 overtime win in Austin on Oct. 26, 2012. Senior midfielder Kara Blosser tallied the game-winner at the 97:06 mark by finishing a ball at the back post. The victory sealed WVU’s perfect inaugural season in the Big 12 and the team’s regular-season championship.

“Every game, there’s a championship on the line,” says Izzo-Brown. “We understand that, and Texas understands that, too. We want to control what we can control. This is a huge game, and I think if I’m a fan, this is going to be a heck of a game to watch. My team knows what’s at stake, so they’re going to play with their hearts.”

UT earned a 2-1 win in the team’s first-ever meeting on Nov. 14, 2004, in Austin.

The Mountaineers enter Friday night boasting the league’s top-two point earners, as senior forward Frances Silva ranks No. 1 with 22 points (six goals, 10 assists) and junior forward Kate Schwindel ranks No. 2 with 19 (eight goals, three assists). Silva’s assist total is a conference-best mark and ranks No. 2 nationally, while Schwindel’s goal total is tops in the Big 12 and No. 32 nationally.

WVU’s offense has settled into its groove, as the Mountaineers lead the conference in points (95), goals (31) and goals per game (2.58 average); WVU’s scoring offense ranks No. 20 nationally.

The Mountaineers opened Big 12 play with a 2-0 showing on the road, picking up a 2-1 victory at Oklahoma State on Sept. 27 and a 4-3 win at then-No. 9 Baylor on Sept. 29. WVU’s win over BU snapped the Bears’ 31-match unbeaten streak. BU had allowed only one goal all season prior to the Mountaineers’ win. The victory was WVU’s 11th over a top-10 team in nine consecutive seasons.

Schwindel, the reigning Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Week, earned a combined six points, scoring a goal and tallying an assist in each win. Sophomore forward Kelsie Maloney also tallied a goal in each contest. Freshman defender Kadeisha Buchanan, the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, scored her first career goal on Sunday, while sophomore defender Cari Price netted the game-winner with her fourth goal of the season.

Senior goalkeeper Sara Keane made seven combined saves over the two-game swing, including six at BU. For her efforts, she was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week, her second honor of the season.

UT is coming off a 3-1 win over Iowa State on Sept. 29, in Austin. The Longhorns placed a season-best 11 shots on-goal against the Cyclones. The squad opened Big 12 play with a 2-0 home victory over TCU on Sept. 27. The Longhorns rank No. 3 in the conference in goals allowed (0.75 avg/g), and they have held 11 of their 12 opponents this season to 10 or fewer shots.

Longhorn sophomore goalkeeper Abby Smith ranks No. 3 in save percentage (.804) and No. 4 in the Big 12 in saves (37). Offensively, UT is paced by sophomore forward Kelsey Shimmick’s 11 points and four goals.

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