MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 12-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team travels to Rutgers for a scrimmage on Tuesday, Aug. 12, at noon, at Yurcak Field.
Tuesday’s scrimmage is the first of the year for both teams. The Mountaineers and the Scarlet Knights battled to a 0-0 draw in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament on Nov. 16, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium, with WVU advancing to the second round with a 3-0 edge in penalty kicks.
“At this point, we’re looking to execute the concepts that we’ve been working on so far this preseason,” said 19-year Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “Hopefully, we see some things we need to improve, too. Ultimately, we want to keep progressing toward our season opener at Penn State.
“It’s good for us to change things up, get away from routine and gather the group together outside of Dreamswork Field. This is a good early test for us and should help us prepare for our season-opening road matches.”
Tomorrow’s scrimmage follows a week of camp for the Mountaineers, who gathered at Dreamswork Field for the start of preseason on Aug. 6.
“Every day, we’re working hard and trying to build,” said Izzo-Brown. “I’m pleased with where we’re at after one week of camp. We need to continue with this focus.”
The Mountaineers, the two-time defending Big 12 Conference regular-season champions and the 2013 Big 12 Soccer Tournament champions, return nine starters from 2013, including sophomore defender Kadeisha Buchanan
, an NSCAA/Continental Tire All-America, senior forward Kate Schwindel
and sophomore forward Ashley Lawrence
, both NSCAA All-Central Region honorees.
Senior Katie Osterman
, junior transfer Hannah Steadman
and redshirt-freshman Michelle Newhouse
are all vying for the Mountaineers’ starting goalkeeper nod following the graduation of three-year starter Sara Keane. Junior forward Kailey Utley
looks to receive increased playing time following the graduation of NSCAA All-American Frances Silva.
The Mountaineers will be without Buchanan, Lawrence and redshirt-freshman forward Amandine Pierre-Louis
, as the trio is competing with the Canadian National Team at the 2014 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The squad concludes group play against Korea DPR tomorrow, with a 7 p.m. match at Olympic Stadium, in Montreal, Quebec.
The Scarlet Knights are coming off a 2013 season which saw them earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships following a second-place finish at the American Athletic Conference Championship. A former foe of the Mountaineers in the Big East Conference, RU enters the Big Ten Conference this season.