WVU Women's Soccer Prepares for Second Round Tournament Action - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Women's Soccer Prepares for Second Round Tournament Action

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WVU Coach Nikki Izzo-Brown prepares for second round NCAA Tournament action. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle) WVU Coach Nikki Izzo-Brown prepares for second round NCAA Tournament action. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)
MORGANTOWN -

The No. 1-seed West Virginia University women's soccer team welcomes Ohio State to Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium Friday evening at 6 p.m. as the Mountaineers try to advance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown guided WVU to a 2-1 victory over the Buckeyes during the regular season. See what Izzo-Brown and junior forward Heather Kaleiohi had to say about the match-up in the full video interviews at the top of the page. Read the full preview of the game from WVU Sports Communications below: 

The No. 1-ranked and top-seeded West Virginia University women’s soccer team meets a familiar foe in Ohio State in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament on Friday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m., at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

The match is the second of two scheduled for Friday, with No. 14-ranked and fourth-seeded UCLA kicking against Nebraska at 3 p.m.

The winners of Friday’s matches will meet Sunday in the tournament’s third round at 2:30 p.m., also at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

Tickets for Friday’s game are on sale now at WVUGAME.com and also will be available at the DDSS Ticket Office. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for students and youths under the age of 13, and $2 for groups of 10 or more. Group tickets will only be available in advance and not at the Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium gate on game day. WVU students are admitted free with a valid WVU Student I.D. One ticket provides admission for both games Friday.

Links for live stats and a free video streams for both matches are available at WVUsports.com.

“The support we’ve received at home this season has been critically important all year long; the fans have been just incredible,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “Again, we’re going to give a big call to Mountaineer Nation to come out and get behind us.” 

WVU (20-1-1, 8-0) has advanced to the tournament’s second round for the second straight season and the 11th time in program history. The Mountaineers are 16-15-2 all-time in tournament play, 11-6-2 at home and 4-6 in the second round. In its last second-round appearance, WVU defeated Northwestern, 4-0, on Nov. 20, 2015, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

The Mountaineers and the Buckeyes (11-6-3, 4-4-3 Big Ten) meet for the second time in the NCAA Tournament Second Round. WVU won 3-0, on Nov. 16, 2003, in Morgantown.

WVU owns a 5-4-1 all-time series edge over OSU, including a 2-1 win against the then-No. 19 Buckeyes on Sept. 4, at DDSS. The loss was the Buckeyes’ first of the year. Junior forward Heather Kaleiohi opened scoring in the 20th minute, but Buckeye senior forward Lindsay Agnew earned the equalizer in the 70th minute. Mountaineer sophomore forward Hannah Abraham netted the game-winner just seven minutes later.

The WVU defense held OSU to four shots, with only Agnew’s goal landing on-frame. Both totals are Buckeye season lows.

“Both teams have different players in different positions at this point of the year,” Izzo-Brown said. “Teams also have built their chemistry at this point of the year, and Ohio State had certainly done that. We have more understanding of what the other brings, too.

“Ohio State has a lot of dangerous players, and we know we have to play tight and not give their special players opportunities. They have a lot of weapons, and we need to bring our ‘A’ game. Both teams have gotten better, and we need to make sure we do the same thing we did in September.”

Riding a 13-match win streak, a victory Friday would match the program record of 14, set in 2010. The Mountaineer defense has tallied a clean sheet in 11 of its last 12 matches and shows 15 shutouts on the season, the second-best total nationally. The mark matches the program single-season record, first set in 2015. The unit has allowed just eight opponent goals, the third-lowest total nationally.

“Our backline has been stellar and done a great job eliminating any dangerous opportunities,” Izzo-Brown said.

Junior Michelle Newhouse has earned the starting nod in goal in five of the last six matches. The Pinch, West Virginia, native has allowed just two goals in that time frame and made 12 stops, including a career-best six at Texas on Oct. 23. She boasts a 0.46 goals-against average (GAA).

The Mountaineer offense has clicked as of late, tallying two or more goals in 10 of the last 13 matches and three goals in in all but two matches since a 3-0 win at TCU on Oct. 21. The attack ranks No. 28 nationally with a 2.14 goals/game average.

Junior forward Michaela Abam continues to pace with the offense with 27 points (10 G, 7 A), including a team-high 10 goals. The Houston native ranks No. 9 in program history with 30 career goals. Additionally, she broke onto the program’s career points list with a goal in WVU’s first round, 3-0 win over Northern Kentucky on Nov. 12 and is tied with associate head coach Lisa Stoia at No. 10 with 71 points.

Senior midfielder Ashley Lawrence has tallied three points (1 G, 1 A) in back-to-back games and shows 10 assists on the year, the third-best total in the NCAA. She ranks No. 3 on the WVU all-time career assists list with 29 and needs four more to match the program record of 33, held by Stoia.

The Buckeyes punched their second-round ticket with a late, 3-2 win over Dayton on Nov. 12, in Columbus, Ohio. Scoring was back-and-forth, but junior midfielder Nikki Walts gave OSU the lead for good in the 86th minute. Sophomore Devon Kerr made three saves for the Buckeyes, who outshot the Flyers, 15-9, and forced Dayton into seven saves.

OSU boasts a 1.75 goals/game average and a 1.29 GAA. Agnew paces with 10 goals and 28 points (10 G, 8 A). Three different Buckeyes have played in net this season. Kerr shows a 1.40 GAA, making 23 saves and allowing eight goals.

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