No. 7 WVU women’s soccer begins spring play at Saint Joe’s

Gold and Blue Nation

The No. 7-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team opens spring, regular-season action at Saint Joseph’s on Sunday, March 7. Kickoff at Sean Sweeney Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is set for 1 p.m. ET.

Fans can follow along with all the action on ESPN+. Live stats are provided by SJUHawks.com.

“(Saint Joseph’s) is definitely a dangerous team that will present some problems to us,” WVU coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “They’re a very hard-working, physical team, and they are very enthusiast to be playing, similar to us in the fall. That emotional piece, let alone the quality of Saint Joe’s, will be something that we have to make sure we’re focused on and ready for, because they are fighting for wins just like we are.”

The Mountaineers (7-2, 7-2 Big 12) and Hawks (1-2-1, 0-0 A10) are set to meet for the first time on Sunday. It also marks WVU’s nonconference opener for the 2020-21 season. SJU will become West Virginia’s 115th first-time opponent in the program’s 25-year history.

WVU last played an Atlantic 10 foe on Aug. 23, 2019, when the Mountaineers defeated Duquesne, 2-0, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown.

In all, the Mountaineers are 20-1-3 all-time against A10 foes.

Last fall, WVU finished 7-2 in its conference-only slate, good for second place in the Big 12. The squad finished at No. 4 in the United Soccer Coaches’ National Poll and was ranked inside the top 10 in all 10 weeks of the fall poll, including five times in the top five. Six Mountaineers were honored by the Big 12, including three players who earned All-Big 12 First Team honors. Junior defender Jordan Brewster, an All-Big 12 First Team selection, was named the league’s defensive player of the year and was selected for the 2020-21 Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Trophy Watch List on Jan. 28.

Joining Brewster on the All-Big 12 First Team was senior midfielder Stefany Ferrer-vanGinkel and redshirt junior forward Alina Stahl, while redshirt junior forward Lauren Segalla and sophomore defender Nicole Payne earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors. Freshman midfielder Lilly McCarthy was named to the All-Freshman Team.

The Mountaineers were placed at No. 7 in the spring’s first edition of the United Soccer Coaches poll, which was released on Tuesday. Additionally, WVU sits at No. 10 in this week’s TopDrawerSoccer.com Top 25.

WVU is 57-9-5 in road matches since 2014. The squad also has won 49 of its last 50 matches when scoring twice or more, including six times in 2020-21.

Saint Joseph’s is led by 20th-year coach Jess Mannella, who holds a career mark of 173-175-41. Mannella is the head coach in program history.

The Hawks are off to a 1-2-1 start this spring. The squad is coming off a 1-1, double-overtime draw against Towson on March 5, at Sweeney Field. SJU’s lone win of the campaign came in its season opener, a 4-1 victory over Delaware State on Feb. 14.

SJU finished 7-10-2 last season and did not participate in the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senior forward Morgan Bower leads the Hawks in most offensive categories, as her two goals, four points, 10 shots and six shots on goal all pace the club. Four others also have scored for Saint Joe’s so far this spring.

For more information on the Mountaineers, follow @WVUWomensSoccer on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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