MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University women’s soccer team opens its 2014 spring season Saturday, March 22 with a 3 p.m. match against the Western New York Flash, in Elma, N.Y.
A member of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), the Flash’s roster features United States National Team members Carli Lloyd and Abby Wambach.
“Competing against a pro team is a great way for us to address the areas we do well and the areas we need to work on,” says Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “The student-athletes have an opportunity to understand the level of play needed to compete against some of the best athletes in the world.”
Tomorrow’s match is the first of five spring matches for the Mountaineers. Twenty-three student-athletes from the 2013 Big 12 Conference champion squad return, including Big 12 Defender and Newcomer of the Year Kadeisha Buchanan
. Also returning are rising seniors Ali Connelly
(midfielder), Jess Crowder
(defender), Katie Osterman
(goalkeeper) and Kate Schwindel
(forward). Additionally, Tennessee transfer goalkeeper Hannah Steadman
will join the Mountaineers on the field this spring.
“I’m really looking to learn how this new team will define itself and continue to learn this spring,” says Izzo-Brown, the two-time reigning Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year. “Saturday is going to be a tremendous learning experience for us.”
The Mountaineers return to competition following a 2013 campaign that saw them win the Big 12 regular season and conference tournament titles. WVU (16-4-3, 7-1 Big 12) finished the year ranked No. 12 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire College Rankings and advanced to its 14th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Mountaineers finished the season with a 1-0 loss at No. 1-seed Virginia Tech in the second round.