KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The No. 15-ranked and top-seeded West Virginia University women’s soccer team will meet No. 5-seed Baylor in the Big 12 Soccer Championship semifinals on Nov. 8, at 6:30 p.m. ET, at Swope Soccer Village.
A live stream of Friday evening’s match can be viewed at Big12Sports.com.
The Mountaineers (14-3-2, 7-1 Big 12) advance to their first Big 12 semifinal match after defeating No. 8-seed Kansas, 3-0, on Nov. 6. WVU has advanced to a conference championship semifinals eight of the last nine seasons.
The conference’s first semifinal match pits the two-time reigning Big 12 Conference regular-season champions against the defending Big 12 Soccer Championship victors, as the Bears (11-5-3, 3-4-1 Big 12) won the 2012 title as the No. 2 seed with a 4-1 win over No. 8-seed TCU. BU earned the right to advance to tomorrow’s game with a 1-0 win over No. 4-seed Iowa State yesterday.
“I think Baylor is an experienced team that knows how to win a tournament championship – they have been successful,” says Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “We have to understand that and come ready – we need to empty our tank tomorrow night.”
WVU earned the upper hand in a battle between ranked teams in late September, as the then-No. 18 Mountaineers defeated No. 9 Baylor, 4-3, on Sept. 29, in Waco, Texas. The victory snapped the Bears’ 31-match unbeaten streak and handed BU its first loss at Betty Lou Mays Field in 17 matches. The Mountaineers were the first squad to score on the Bears in Waco in 2013 and the first team to put four goals past BU on its own field since 2009.
First-half goals from forwards Kelsie Maloney
and Kate Schwindel
gave WVU an early lead, and defender Kadeisha Buchanan
pushed the score to 3-0 with her first career goal in the 61st minute. Following two goals in eight minutes from the Bears, sophomore defender Cari Price
netted the game-winner in the 77th minute. BU’s final goal came with seven seconds remaining. The Mountaineers own a 1-0-1 advantage in the all-time series.
“We just have to stick to our gameplan tomorrow against the Bears,” says Izzo-Brown. “I’m expecting a battle again – both teams are playing for a championship.”
WVU enters tomorrow night averaging a conference-best 2.37 goals per game. The Mountaineers lead the Big 12 with a 7.16 points per game average.
Following a 10-day break, the Mountaineers opened the Big 12 Championship last night with their resounding victory over the Jayhawks. Senior forward Frances Silva
, the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, netted two goals in the match’s first 26 minutes to push the Mountaineers to victory, connecting on a free kick from just outside the box in the 18th minute and then converting her third penalty kick of the season eight minutes later. Freshman midfielder Tessa Broadwater
scored the Mountaineers’ third goal in the 56th minute.
Silva’s two-goal performance was her second of the season and the sixth of her career. The Overland Park, Kan., native now shows 41 points (14 G, 13 A) for the year, a WVU senior single-season record. Her 14 goals, a personal season-best mark, are one short of the program’s senior single-season record and rank No. 6 in the program record book.
Senior goalkeeper Sara Keane
was largely unchallenged against KU, as the Jayhawks only registered seven shots, none on-goal. Keane has posted seven shutouts this season and shows 24 for her career, the fourth-best total in program history.
“I think it was important for us to get on the board and get back into the swing of things,” Izzo-Brown explains. “Getting two goals in the first half was especially big for momentum.”
The Bears are one of the Big 12’s stingiest defenses, having allowed just 12 goals all season, including the four to WVU in September. They rank second in the conference with a 0.61 goals against average. BU’s shutout of ISU on Wednesday was its 13th of the season, and freshman midfielder Ashley York netted the game-winner. Statistically, they are led by sophomore forward Bri Campos’ 16 points (6 G, 4 A). Campos is the team’s lone All-Big 12 honoree, and she was named to the first team.
Tomorrow night’s winner will advance to Sunday’s championship match, where they will meet the winner of No. 2 Texas Tech – No. 6 Oklahoma State, at 4:30 p.m. ET. Fox Sports 1 will carry the match.