MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck announced today the 2014 women’s soccer schedule.
“The schedule coach Nikki Izzo-Brown has put together is a terrific challenge for the two-time defending Big 12 champions,” says Luck. “I am excited to watch this team battle for its third straight conference title this fall.”
The Mountaineers will compete at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium 12 times this year, with five of those matches against 2013 NCAA Tournament participants. In total, six of WVU’s opponents appeared at last season’s tournament – Penn State, Duke, Georgetown, La Salle, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.
“The goal is always to improve every game in preparation for conference play and to be competing for as long as we can at the end of the season,” says Izzo-Brown. “To be the best, you must play the best – that’s always been my philosophy. I don’t think you’re ever going to see a schedule, especially nonconference, that isn’t going to challenge us. We’re really going to be challenged by the teams we will face this year.”
The two-time defending Big 12 Conference regular-season champions and reigning conference tournament champions, WVU closes its 2014 season with three straight home matches against league opponents – Oklahoma State, the 2013 Big 12 Tournament runners-up, Oklahoma and Baylor, the 2012 conference champions.
“The Big 12 season is definitely going to be exciting,” Izzo-Brown continues. “We have some big teams coming to Morgantown this year. There is so much parity in this conference right now, and you can’t take anyone lightly. I think we’ll be challenged at home this season by some very good conference opponents.”
For the second straight season and the third time in four years, WVU will open its season at Penn State on Friday, Aug. 22, at the Penn State Invitational. The Mountaineers also will face Missouri at the invite on Aug. 24.
The Mountaineers open their 10th year at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium against Duke, a 2013 NCAA Tournament quarterfinalist, on Friday, Aug. 29. The two squads battled to a 1-1 double-overtime draw at the Duke Nike Classic in 2013.
The Duke match opens an eight-match homestand for WVU. Included in the four-week swing is the return of the WVU 90 Minute Classic Sept. 5-7, and battles against former Big East Conference foes Georgetown on Sept. 12 and Villanova on Sept. 21.
WVU opens the defense of its Big 12 titles on the road, as the team travels to TCU and Texas on the weekend of Sept. 26-28. Following a home match against the Red Raiders, the only Big 12 team to earn a regular-season victory over WVU in two seasons, on Oct. 10, the Mountaineers will return to the road for matches at Iowa State on Oct. 17 and at Kansas on Oct. 19.
The Mountaineers conclude their regular season with the aforementioned three-game Big 12 homestand. WVU knocked off OSU, 1-0, at the Big 12 Soccer Tournament on Nov. 10, en route to its first championship title in its new conference home. The team needed two overtimes to defeat the Sooners, 2-1, in Norman, on Oct. 25, and snapped BU’s 31-game unbeaten streak with a 4-3 victory in Waco on Sept. 29.
The 2014 Big 12 Soccer Championship begins with quarterfinal play on Nov. 5, with the semifinals and final following on Nov. 7 and Nov. 9. For the second straight season, all matches will be played at Swope Soccer Village, in Kansas City, Mo.
The first round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament will begin on Nov. 14-16, with all matches held at campus sites. The 2014 Women’s College Cup will be held Dec. 5-7, at FAU Stadium, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.