ORLANDO, Fla. – The West Virginia University women’s soccer team is set to open its Big 12 Conference slate when it treks to Orlando, Florida, to face league newcomer UCF on Thursday, Sept. 14, at 6 p.m. ET, inside the UCF Soccer and Track Complex.
West Virginia enters Thursday’s Big 12 Conference opener as the defending Big 12 Tournament champions, after claiming its 18th conference title in 2022. Entering its 12th Big 12 season on Thursday, WVU is unbeaten Big 12 openers, boasting a record of 9-0-2. The Mountaineers own a total record of 72-13-13 all-time in Big 12 Conference play since joining the league in 2012. WVU also boasts a winning record over 12 of 13 conference opponents, while it is unbeaten against newcomer BYU. Houston will become a first-time opponent for the squad this fall.
Thursday’s contest marks the third meeting all-time between West Virginia and UCF, as the Mountaineers hold a 2-0 lead in the all-time series. The now-conference foes are set to square off for the first time since 1999, while it also will mark the two teams’ first match as members of the Big 12 Conference. WVU and UCF met for the first time in 1998, with the Mountaineers earning a 2-1 overtime victory in Orlando on Sept. 27. In the last meeting, WVU tallied a 4-0 win in Morgantown on Oct. 3.
West Virginia is coming off a 0-0 draw with Villanova in the nonconference finale in Morgantown on Sept. 10.
The Mountaineers had their chances in the match with eight shots and eight corner kicks but couldn’t manage to put the pieces together to find the back of the net.
Despite the offensive struggle, the Mountaineer defense did their part in limiting Villanova’s opportunities for a goal, holding the Wildcats to a pair of shots and one shot on goal. West Virginia also secured its third shutout of the season, while it held an opponent to three shots on goal or fewer for the third time this year. Fifth-year senior goalkeeper Kayza Massey collected one save in her 23rd career clean sheet.
So far this season, sophomore forward Taylor White leads the team with four goals and nine points, while junior forward Dilary Heredia-Beltran holds the team lead in assists (3) and shots (18).
Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak is in her 11th season as the head coach at UCF. A four-time AAC Coach of the Year, she has led the Knights to five NCAA Tournament bids. UCF enters Thursday’s Big 12 opener with a 4-2 record this season, coming off a 2-0 win over South Florida in the nonconference finale on Sept. 10. Ellie Moreno leads the Knights’ offense in goals (4), points (8) and shots (13), while keeper Caroline DeLisle has grabbed 23 saves and posted two shutouts on the season.