#25 West Virginia Women's Soccer 2012 Preview

West Virginia Mountaineers

Overall Rank: #25
Conference Rank: #3 Big 12
West Virginia Women's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
West Virginia Team Page


West Virginia has been to the NCAA Tournament 12 years in a row and that streak will not likely end now. However, this year will be very different for the Mountaineers as they make the move to the Big 12. The Big East will be glad to see Coach Nikki Izzo-Brown’s program leave after she turned the program into the Big East’s best. A new challenge awaits, but this is a WVU squad and program that are ready for anything.

2011 Record: 17-5-0, 10-1-0
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Nikki Izzo-Brown

On ten occasions the Mountaineers netted three or more goals. In their three conference tournament games, WVU outscored the opposition by a score of 12-1. That is one way to win a conference tournament title. The loss of leading scorer Blake Miller is a concern, but this group is ready to reload. Frances Silva is an experienced junior who scored eight goals in 2011 and will look to take the leadership role up front. She will be joined by Kate Schwindel who netted six goals as a freshman. Schwindel also proved to be a very good playmaker and dished out seven assists. Defender Bry McCarthy is an apt passer as well and led the Mountaineers with nine assists during the 2011 campaign. With Bri Rodriguez and Caroline Szwed returning to the midfield, this is a team that has a lot of scoring options and plenty of players who can create opportunities for those scorers. The addition of Kara Blosser, a transfer from North Carolina State will bolster the midfield and add some much needed experience. Blosser started 35 games during her career at NC State and scored 12 goals in two seasons. West Virginia should be solid between the posts too thanks to the return of Sara Keane. The sophomore keeper compiled nine shutouts and allowed less than a goal per game. With a year of starting experience under her belt, Keane could improve on her impressive .800 save percentage.

While some key pieces are returning, this is a team that loses over half of its regular contributors. That leaves a roster littered with underclassmen. The sophomore class is huge while there are only six upperclassmen that played for the Mountaineers in 2011. That youth and inexperience is a concern, especially heading into a new conference. The goals and leadership lost by Miller is one thing, but the experience around the rest of the pitch will be missed too. West Virginia did rely heavily on their younger players last year and they did have great seasons, but Coach Izzo-Brown will need more sophomores to step up beside Keane and Schwindel. There are certainly options and talented ones at that, but the youth of this group will be the one thing that can stop them.

Final Projection:
This should be a very interesting season for West Virginia. They need to do a little reloading and they will be watching a lot of extra game tape to get to know their opponents in the Big 12. After last year’s disappointing NCAA Tournament loss to Virginia Tech, the youngsters will be better prepared to make a bigger run in the NCAA Tournament. But first they have to pull together and fill the holes left by the major contributors who are no longer on the team.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Frances Silva, Junior, F, 8
Assists: Bry McCarthy, Senior, D, 9
Shots: Kate Schwindel, Sophomore, F, 51
Saves: Sara Keane, Sophomore, GK, 80

Madness 2012 Women’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#73 Carly Black