MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (November 14, 2014) – The No. 7-ranked and third-seeded West Virginia University women’s soccer team opens the 2014 NCAA Tournament against Georgetown on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 4 p.m., at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for youth and senior citizens. Admission is free for WVU students with a valid student ID. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets in advance for $2 through the Mountaineer Ticket Office in the WVU Coliseum or by calling 1-800-WVU GAME.
Links for live scores and a free video stream can be found at WVUSports.com.
The Mountaineers (16-2-3, 7-0-1), the 2014 Big 12 Conference regular-season and tournament champions, will make their 15th straight appearance in the tournament, the eighth-longest active streak in the nation. The squad’s seed is its first since earning the No. 3 seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
“Saturday is a great opportunity for fans to come out and congratulate the Big 12 Conference champions and to help push the team through the NCAA Tournament with a lot of support and encouragement,” said Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “I encourage Mountaineer Nation to get out to Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium and support this team.”
WVU shows a 12-14-1 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament and went 0-1-1 in the 2013 tournament, tying Rutgers 0-0 (3-0 PKs) in the first round before falling 1-0 at No. 1-seed Virginia Tech in the second round. The Mountaineers are 7-6-1 all-time in home NCAA Tournament matches and 8-5-1 in first-round contests.
“Any kind of experience you can gain, good or bad, is huge moving forward,” said Izzo-Brown. “Until you experience an NCAA Tournament, you can’t really talk about it. I think the majority of our team understands what it means to be a part of something as big as the tournament.”
The Mountaineers have posted nine shutouts in NCAA Tournament play, with the last their draw against the Scarlet Knights in 2013. Junior forward Kelsie Maloney is the only active Mountaineer to earn a point in an NCAA Tournament match, as she assisted on Frances Silva’s goal in WVU’s 2-1 first-round loss to Princeton on Nov. 10, 2012.
WVU rides an 18-match unbeaten streak into Saturday’s contest. The streak matches the program record, first set in 2002. The squad’s 16 wins are tied for the third-best single-season showing in program history and two short of the program record.
Saturday is the second meeting of the season between WVU and GU (11-4-5, 6-1-2 Big East). The squads played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw in Morgantown on Sept. 12, with forward Vanessa Skrumbis putting GU on the board first in the 24th minute, and sophomore defender Kadeisha Buchanan adding the equalizer in the 27th minute. The Mountaineers finished with a 26-10 edge in shots, including a 13-3 advantage in shots on-goal.
“I think both teams are different at this point of the season,” Izzo-Brown explained. “Both squads have a good handle on their strengths and weaknesses. I know this is going to be a totally different Georgetown team than the one we faced in September, and we’re obviously very different, too.”
Former foes in the Big East Conference, WVU owns a 14-3-1 all-time series advantage. Saturday will be the first meeting between the teams in the NCAA Tournament.
The Mountaineers return to DDSS after winning their second consecutive Big 12 Soccer Championship with a 1-0 victory over Oklahoma on Nov. 9, at Swope Soccer Village, in Kansas City, Missouri. Senior forward Kate Schwindel, an All-Big 12 First Team honoree, tallied the game-winner, her team-best fourth of the season, in the 13th minute, while junior Hannah Steadman matched a career high with six saves.
“There was a lot knowledge gained last week,” said Izzo-Brown of the team’s lone one-goal win of the season. “I thought OU did a really good job of disrupting us and being very direct. We learned a lot about how we can deal with that. We had different players step up at different times for us throughout the Big 12 Championship, and that was huge. Things are going to get tight in the NCAA Tournament, so I’m glad we gained experience with that last week.”
Steadman has posted 10 shutouts this season, the fourth-best individual total in program history. She shows a 0.712 goals-against average and ranks No. 40 in the NCAA. Buchanan, the two-time reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, has led the WVU defense to 11 shutouts, three short of the WVU single-season record.
Freshman forward Michaela Abam, the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, paces WVU with 16 points and eight goals. She is tied with Schwindel with four game-winners. Sophomore midfielder Ashley Lawrence ranks No. 80 in the NCAA with a team-best seven assists.
The Hoyas earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament following a 2-0 defeat to top-seeded and 13th-ranked DePaul at the Big East Conference Championship on Nov. 9. Saturday marks the team’s third straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Senior midfielder Daphne Corboz paces GU with 38 points (10 G, 18 A). She was named the Big East Offensive Player and Midfielder of the Year. Skrumbis also shows 10 goals, and senior goalkeeper Emma Newins owns a 1.11 goals-against average.
“Daphne is a tough, tough player,” said Izzo-Brown. “She has the ability to break away from any team in the country. We just have to be really conscious of her and understand where she is at all times. She’s a game changer. I know that our team respects her and understands that we have to keep an eye on her.”
The winner of Saturday’s contest will meet the winner of Virginia Tech – Dayton on Nov. 21. The site will be based on the highest remaining seed in the second- and third-round portion of the bracket. If No. 2-seed Penn State moves past Buffalo (16-2-3) this evening, and WVU wins tomorrow, the Mountaineers will meet their next opponent at Jeffrey Field in University Park, Pennsylvania. If PSU loses, WVU will play host to the second- and third-round matches.
For more information on the Mountaineers, follow @WVUWomensSoccer on Twitter.
Release via WVU Sports Information
Photo via WVUSports.com