The sixth-ranked West Virginia women’s soccer team is headed to Norman to face the Oklahoma Sooners in Big 12 Conference action on Friday night. The contest gets underway at 8 p.m. ET and will be shown on FOX Sports Oklahoma.
The upcoming contest is a clash between the top and bottom teams in the Big 12, as West Virginia (5-1) is currently stands at first while Oklahoma (0-3-1) is tenth.
There are a lot of different factors that can get credit for the Mountaineers’ resurgence, and the number that may jump off the stats sheet is their conference-leading 13 goals so far this season. However, another key aspect to their success has been at the other end of the pitch, which features a defensive quartet that has played every single minute of this season.
“The experience that this back line is tallying right now…they’re the backbone of all of it,” said WVU coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “And it’s really important that they continue to develop and continue to do their job and believe in the system to make sure that they’re doing movements that they need to be doing to be successful.”
That’s not to take away from their attack, which is led by midfielder Stefany Ferrer-vanGinkel. The senior from Barcelona has netted a career and conference-high six four goals to go along with an assist.
The senior from Barcelona is just one of many Mountaineers that have made an impact on offense. Of the five players in the Big 12 to register assists, three are from WVU: center back Jordan Brewster, winger Lauren Segalla and midfielder Isabella Sibley. Getting those contributions from all over the field have been key to Izzo-Brown’s attacking scheme this year.
Their opponents for the weekend have not had quite the same success. They’ve found the back of the net just twice this season so far in four matches, while allowing seven.
Their lack of scoring is not due to a lack of chances, however. Oklahoma averages 12.5 shots per game, which makes them dangerous for even the toughest of defenses.
“I think that we just have to be very disciplined in our defensive shape and I think going in there we know that they are very dangerous and that it’s just a matter of time with a team like this, so we can’t give them time and space on the ball,” Izzo-Brown said.
Kayza Massey will get her third start of the season after taking over for Maddie Murphy due to a coach’s decision before their 2-1 victory over Texas Tech.
“I think that Kayza has really shown us how aggressive she is and how effective she can be,” Izzo-Brown said.
Izzo-Brown noted that her decision was mostly based on getting her two goalkeepers some experience and rewarding both of them for their hard work.
Kickoff at Oklahoma’s John Crain Field is set for 8 p.m. ET on Friday, and the contest will be shown on FOX Sports Oklahoma.