MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Though soft-spoken, senior Jess Crowder
is not one to back down from a challenge, and the midfielder is ready to lead the No. 10-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team into the lions’ den at No. 11 Penn State this Friday in the Mountaineers’ 2014 season opener.
“For us upperclassmen, we know what to expect Friday and the intensity that we’ll see,” the Cary, North Carolina, native said of PSU, WVU’s season-opening foe three of the last five years. “We know the dynamic of the team based upon the way they’ve been coached in the past.”
A two-year starter along the Mountaineers’ backline, Crowder has grown accustomed to leading WVU to victory, as the team boasts a 44-14-7 record since her arrival in 2011. A 2013 NSCAA Scholar All-East Region Honorable Mention and a two-time member of the Academic All-Big 12 Soccer Team, she believes that the defense may be one of the keys to WVU adding to its winning record, as all four starters – Crowder, junior Leah Emaus
and sophomores Kadeisha Buchanan
and Carly Black
– return for another go.
“We’re ready to get back into sync from 2013,” she explained. “I think we’re going to be stronger than ever now that we all have experience. I think this is going to be good for us.”
The Mountaineers open their 2014 season this weekend at the Penn State Invitational, at Jeffrey Field, in University Park, Pennsylvania. WVU kicks off against PSU on Friday, Aug. 22, at 7:30 p.m. The Mountaineers will face Missouri at noon on Sunday.
No matter the publication or blog, one thing is widely agreed upon by those that cover Division I women’s soccer – WVU is a team to watch in 2014.
The Mountaineers have earned several rankings throughout the last month, including a high of No. 10 in the TopDrawerSoccer.com Top 25. The squad also is ranked No.12 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire Poll and by Our Game Magazine, No. 16 in the Soccer America Top 25 and No. 20 in BennettRank’s Women’s Soccer Top 25 Rankings.
While all polls are special in their own rights, the NSCAA and TopDrawerSoccer.com Polls hold the most weight. PSU is ranked No. 11 by TopDrawerSoccer.com and No. 24 by the NSCAA.
The preseason accolades continue to roll in for Buchanan, as the Brampton, Ontario, native collected two more awards today. Buchanan was ranked No. 5 in TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Preseason Division I National Top 100 and named a preseason All-America by Soccer America.
Named to the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List earlier this month, Buchanan is the highest-ranked sophomore on TopDrawerSoccer.com’s list and one of three sophomores on Soccer America’s list.
Forwards Kate Schwindel
and Ashley Lawrence
also landed on TopDrawerSoccer.com’s list today, with Schwindel, a senior, checking in at No. 69, and Lawrence, a sophomore, appearing at No. 82.
Speaking of Buchanan, she, along with Lawrence and redshirt-freshman forward Amandine Pierre-Louis
, rejoined the Mountaineers this Monday after competing for Canada at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada. The squad lost, 2-0, to Germany Saturday evening in the quarterfinals.
As of today, the Mountaineers will appear on TV at least three times in 2014: at Texas on Sept. 28 (Longhorn Network), against Texas Tech in Morgantown on Oct. 10 (NSCAATV.com) and at Kansas on Oct. 19 (ESPN3).
The Mountaineers are counting on a rowdy, supportive crowd for their 2014 Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium season opener. WVU will face No. 12 Duke, a 2013 NCAA Tournament quarterfinalist, on Friday, Aug. 29, at 7:30 p.m.
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