#26 West Virginia Women's Soccer 2013 Preview

West Virginia Mountaineers

Overall Rank: #26
Conference Rank: #3 Big 12
#26 West Virginia Women's Soccer 2013 Preview
West Virginia Team Page


West Virginia’s Women’s Soccer team got to off to a blazing start in their first voyage through the Big 12 Conference in 2012. The Mountaineers ran through the conference at 7-0-1 and were able to grind out wins in tightly contested one-goal matches. The run of one-goal matches, unfortunately, caught up with the Mountaineers in the NCAA Tournament where they were upset by Princeton 2-1 in the first round of the tournament. This team is experienced and hungry to move forward in 2013 and play deep into the NCAA Tournament.

2012 Record: 11-5-4, 7-0-1
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Nikki Izzo-Brown

The duo upfront, Katie Schwindel and Frances Silva, will be vital to this team’s success. Schwindel and Silva combined for 20 of the 34 goals in 2013. Schwindel is the top all-around threat. She had a team leading 26 points and was very adept at setting up scoring chances for her teammates with her team leading eight assists in her All-Big 12 First Team campaign. Silva, an All-Big 12 Second Team forward, had a great knack for coming up big in the clutch for West Virginia. Silva had three game-winning goals as part of her team-leading 11 in 2012. In goal, junior Sara Keane returns as the rock on the back line for the Mountaineer defense. Keane played every minute last season and had eight shutouts, including four in conference play. Her experience is going to be very critical for the Mountaineers to have the ability to defend at a high level this fall.

There needs to be more scoring depth in 2013 for West Virginia if they want to go deep in the NCAA Tournament. The top candidates to bolster the scoring depth are midfielder Kara Blosser, who had three goals in 2012. In addition, Kelsie Maloney and Amanda Hill combined for four goals. If this group can elevate those totals it will make life extremely difficult for the rest of the Big 12 Conference. The improvement should help, especially in the non-conference portion of the season. Last year, in the non-conference slate, it was an up and down journey as the Mountaineers had tough results at home against good mid-major teams like LaSalle and Central Michigan, but on the other side, upset a great Stanford team  and gave Penn State all they wanted in a 2-1 loss.

Final Projection:  
The West Virginia program, under the leadership of Coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, is always going to be in the mix for NCAA postseason play. The Mountaineers are usually very difficult to beat in Morgantown, where they have not lost a conference match in the regular season since 2009 when they lost to Notre Dame. The schedule is very balanced with Duke, Penn State, and North Carolina on the non-conference slate. This trifecta of opponents should have West Virginia primed and ready for Big 12 play. The Big 12 schedule was done in a very balanced fashion to cut down on the travel challenges of going from Morgantown to the rest of the conference. By having only two multi-game weekend road trips at the start and end of the schedule, the travel should not be a big issue for this Mountaineer team. With nine starters returning and the team’s offensive growth, this West Virginia squad should be right in the mix to host early round matches in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Frances Silva, Senior, Forward, 11
Assists: Katie Schwindel, Junior, Forward, 8
Shots: Katie Schwindel, Junior, Forward, 84
Saves: Sara Keane, Junior, Goalkeeper, 84

Madness 2013 Women’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#70 Bryce Banuelos


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