MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (Sept. 15, 2021) – The No.15-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team travels to Harrisonburg, Virginia, for just its second road game of the season, taking on James Madison on Thursday, Sept. 16. Kickoff against the Dukes is slated for 7 p.m. ET, at Sentara Park.
“It’s been a little while since we played on the road,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “We’re going to have our hands full against a very good and deep James Madison team. We know that they are going to present us with a few challenges we haven’t seen so far in this nonconference season.”
Last time out, West Virginia (4-2-1) concluded its four-game homestand hosting Saint Francis (Pa.) on Sept. 12
The Mountaineers found the back of the net four times in the first half before putting the icing on the cake with one tally in the second. Junior forward/defender Julianne Vallerand buried the game-winning header at the 22:27 mark off a corner kick from senior defender Jordan Brewster. From there, WVU added on goals from senior forward Lauren Segalla, senior midfielder Isabella Sibley, freshman midfielder Leah Sparacio and freshman forward Dilary Heredia-Beltran.
The West Virginia defense didn’t allow Saint Francis to tally a single shot, shot on goal or corner kick, recording the first time the squad has held a team to no shots since August 23, 2019, against Duquesne. Vallerand led the offense with nine shots against SFU, the most for a WVU player in a single game since Michaela Abam also recorded nine shots against Texas Tech on October 19, 2017.
Thursday’s contest marks the 10th all-time meeting between West Virginia and James Madison, as the Mountaineers hold a 7-1-1 advantage in the series. The two teams first met in a season opener on Aug. 28, 1999, with a 1-0 Mountaineer loss in Harrisonburg. The Mountaineers and Dukes last met on Sept. 14, 2008, ending in a 1-1 tie in Morgantown. Before that, the two programs squared off in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament, where the Mountaineers won 2-0.
Head coach Joshua Walters is in his fourth season as JMU’s head coach, and he is just the second head coach in the program’s history. In a COVID-19 shortened season, Walters led the Dukes to 1-3-2 mark in 2020-21. James Madison is 2-4-1 so far this season, coming off a 3-1 win at High Point on Sept. 12.
Redshirt senior Hannah Coulling leads the team with three goals in 2021, while redshirt freshman Lexi Vanderlinden follows with two goals and two assists on the season. Redshirt sophomore Alexandra Blom leads the squad in goal, starting all seven matches and tallying 25 saves.
West Virginia currently leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks No. 6 nationally in corner kicks per game, averaging 8.71 corner-kick opportunities per game including a season-high 16 against Saint Francis. The Mountaineers have scored off a corner kick twice this season. Additionally, with a pair of game winners this season, Vallerand ranks No. 33 nationally and No. 3 in the conference in game-winning goals.