MORGANTOWN, W.Va. Usually, the West Virginia University athletes who get the most attention either strap on football pads at Milan Puskar or lace up basketball shoes at the WVU Coliseum.
This summer, however, a new star has emerged. She doesn’t rock football pads or basketball shoes, but instead, shin guards and a World Cup soccer jersey.
Today, junior defender Kadeisha Buchanan earned yet another honor as she was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Preseason First Team.
Earlier this summer, Buchanan earned quite possibly one of the highest regarded soccer awards in the world at the 2015 World Cup, the Hyundai Best Young Player Award, given to the best performer at the World Cup who was born no later than January 1, 1995.
Buchanan was also named to the 2015 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List earlier this week along with her both collegiate and World Cup teammate Ashley Lawrence. Lawrence also earned a TopDrawerSoccer.com Preseason Honor as she was named to the Third Team.
Lawrence has also made waves this summer, scoring her very first World Cup goal. Lawrence, a junior forward at West Virginia, wears the No. 9 jersey for the Mountaineers and will likely play an intricate part in the Mountaineers attempt to win another Big 12 Championship this year.
Both Buchanan and Lawrence have represented West Virginia University perfectly the last few months, and head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown couldn’t be more excited to see where their newfound experiences and abilities can lead her 2015-16 squad.
“It was always about what she could bring back to the Mountaineers,” said Izzo-Brown on Buchanan in a press conference earlier last month. “Even though her focus was on Canada and the World Cup, she was always saying, ‘Wow, this type of leadership role is something I wanna bring back to Morgantown and to the Mountaineers’. She was always in-tune with the leadership piece.”
The Mountaineers opened their season yesterday with a scrimmage against Wright State. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. According to Izzo-Brown, many missed offensive opportunities contributed to the draw.
“We learned today that if you don’t finish your chances, they will come back to haunt you,” Izzo-Brown said in a WVU press release. “You have to give all the credit to Wright State – they battled from the first whistle to the last.”
“We also saw a lot of good things today that we can use moving forward. The learning opportunity we are going to have after the breakdown of this game is huge – this is a great opportunity for this team to get better,” she said.
Machaela Abam and Kailey Utley each scored one goal for the Mountaineers in the scrimmage. Buchanan and Lawrence will likely rest as much as possible during the preseason in order to regain stamina drained during the World Cup, PanAm Games, and training for the 2016 Olympics.
West Virginia has one remaining pre-season match slated for Wednesday, August 12 in Washington, D.C. against Georgetown.