No. 6 Mountaineers Close Out Regular Season

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • October 24, 2013 11:46 AM
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Frances Silva
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.  – The No. 6-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team closes out its regular season with a two-match road trip this weekend.
The Mountaineers (12-2-2, 6-0 Big 12) will play at Oklahoma on Friday, Oct. 25, at the OU Soccer Complex, in Norman, Okla. The match will air live on Fox College Sports – Atlantic at 8 p.m. ET.
WVU will then battle at No. 7 Texas Tech on Sunday, Oct. 27, at John Walker Soccer Complex, in Lubbock, Texas, at 7 p.m. ET. WVU is 1-1-2 against ranked opponents this year.
“Oklahoma is a very dangerous team, and their record does not reflect the type of quality opponent that they are,” says Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “We are never playing against a record – we are playing against that team on that given day. Anything can happen. They’re pretty good; they just haven’t gotten the results that they’ve wanted.”
The Mountaineers return to the road riding an eight-match win streak, with the last six straight victories coming against Big 12 Conference foes. At stake this weekend is WVU’s second straight Big 12 regular-season title and fourth consecutive conference championship. The Mountaineers need to win only one of the two contests to earn the title.
 “I addressed the team this week, and when we talked, they were fully aware of what is at stake,” continues Izzo-Brown. “They aren’t isolated. They know if we beat the Sooners, we can clinch the conference. Our main goal since August has been to go undefeated in Big 12 play. Our goal going into Friday night’s match is to maintain our undefeated record – whatever happens after that is going to happen.”
 WVU embarks on its first road trip since September. The Mountaineers closed out a four-match homestand with a 2-0 win over Kansas on Oct. 18 at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The victory was the team’s second shutout in conference play and sixth of the year.
 “We’ve taken this whole season one game at a time,” explains Izzo-Brown. “We want to get better every opportunity that we can. We want to grind, and we want to be focused. At this point, that’s what we’re going to do. I think our focus is there, and I hope we do what we set out to do in August.”  
 This weekend’s matches are the first at both venues for the Mountaineers. WVU owns a 1-0 series lead over OU (4-11-1, 1-5 Big 12) and TTU (13-1-2, 3-0-2 Big 12), having beat the Sooners, 2-0, on Oct. 18, 2012, and the Red Raiders, 3-2, on Sept. 21, 2012, in Morgantown. The win over TTU gave WVU its first victory as a member of the Big 12 Conference.
WVU is one of the nation’s hottest offensive teams. The squad ranks No. 3 in the NCAA in assists (2.69 per game), No. 6 in points (7.69 per game) and No. 14 in scoring offense (2.5 goals per game). Additionally, WVU leads the Big 12 in goals (40) and shots (17.31 per game).
 Individually, senior forward Frances Silva ranks No. 3 nationally in assists (12), No. 5 in assists per game (0.75), No. 7 in points (34), No. 9 in points per game (2.13), No. 25 in goals (11) and No. 34 in goals per game (0.688). She ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 in each of those categories but goals per game, where she checks in at No. 2 behind Oklahoma State’s Courtney Dike (0.73 average).
Silva’s 12 assists match the WVU single-season record. Additionally, the Overland Park, Kan., native’s 34 career goals rank No. 4 in the program record book, while her 89 career points rank No. 5 and her 21 career assists rank No. 7. She has tallied at least one point in all but one match this year.
Junior forward Kate Schwindel boasts 26 points (10 goals, 6 assists), the second-best total in the Big 12 and No. 35 nationally. The Livingston, N.J., native’s goal and assist totals rank No. 3 in the conference. Additionally, sophomore forward Kelsie Maloney ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 in game-winners (4), No. 4 in points (16) and No. 5 in goals (6).
Senior Sara Keane owns all six of the Mountaineers’ 2013 shutouts. She has allowed 20 goals and owns a 1.22 goals-against average and a .688 save percentage.
Friday night’s match in Norman is the final home contest of the season for OU. The Sooners are coming off a 1-1 showing last weekend, as they earned a 1-0 victory at TCU on Oct. 18 for their first Big 12 victory of the season, and fell 1-0 at Texas on Oct. 20. Junior forward Daisy Cardona leads the Sooners with eight points (4 goals, 0 assists).
The Red Raiders enter the weekend riding a 12-match unbeaten streak, with their last loss a 3-2 defeat to Long Beach State on Sept. 1. TTU was off last weekend. Most recently, the Red Raiders earned a 2-1 win at OU on Oct. 11 before playing to a 0-0 draw at Baylor on Oct. 13. TTU, led by sophomore forward Janine Beckie’s 16 points (6 goals, 4 assists), will play host to Kansas on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.