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No. 12 WVU Kicks Off 2021 Campaign Against Buffalo

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (Aug. 18, 2021) – The No.12-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team opens its 26th season of competition on Thursday, August 19, hosting Buffalo at 5 p.m. ET at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown.

The Mountaineers celebrate Fan Appreciation Day and welcome fans back for the start of the 2021-22 WVU Athletics season. The match is slated as a Dollar Day, with tickets and select concessions available for $1 each. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance by visitingWVUGAME.com or calling 1-800-WVU GAME to avoid lines at the gate on game day. 

WVU student tickets also will be made available at the Mountaineer Ticket Office, located at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The office, as well as the stadium gates, opens at 4:35 p.m., on game day. WVU students are admitted for free with a valid WVU Student I.D.

Andrew Caridi and Adam Zundell have the call of Thursday’s contest on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. For more information, or to sign up for the digital platform, visit WVUsports.com/Big12Now. The game also can be heard on 91.7 FM (WWVU) in Morgantown. Live stats are available at WVUsports.com.

“We are so excited, not just to kick off our season on Thursday, but to kick off WVU Athletics’ season as well,” coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “We hope Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium is rocking and ready to go because I know our team is really looking forward to the game this week.”

Entering her 26th season as the program’s only head coach, Izzo-Brown has led the Mountaineers to a 362-122-56 overall record. WVU returns 14 letterwinners off the 2020-21 squad, as well as 10 starters. Twelve newcomers are set to join the team this fall, including 11 freshmen and one transfer.

Senior defender Jordan Brewster and junior goalkeeper Kayza Massey were named to the 2021 Preseason All-Big 12 Team, which follows Brewster’s selection as the 2020 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year last season. Five of the Mountaineers’ six 2020 All-Big 12 honorees return to the squad this year, including first teamers Brewster and senior forward Alina Stahl. Junior forward/defender Nicole Payne and redshirt senior forward Lauren Segalla were honored on the second team, while sophomore midfielder Lilly McCarthy was named to the All-Freshman team.

West Virginia debuted at No. 12 in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason NCAA Division I Women’s Top 25. Five of WVU’s 2021 opponents are ranked in the poll, including Big 12 foes No. 8 TCU and No. 16 Oklahoma State.

Thursday marks the third-ever meeting between West Virginia and Buffalo. WVU owns a 2-0 record over the Bulls, with the most recent meeting coming in 2016, a 2-0 Mountaineer victory at the Penn State Invitational in University Park, Pennsylvania.  The two teams met for the first time on Sept. 18, 2015, with WVU claiming a 1-0 victory in overtime at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown.

Buffalo is led by eighth-year coach Shawn Burke, who has guided the team to six consecutive MAC tournament berths. The Bulls are set to begin their 2021 campaign against WVU on Thursday, following a 6-1-1 overall mark last season. Finishing 2020-21 with 17 goals, Buffalo averaged 2.12 goals per game, led by Marcy Barberic with nine goals on the year. Goalkeeper Emily Kelly returns for the 2021 campaign after being named to the All-MAC First Team in 2020-21 and starting all eight contests. 

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