Gold and Blue Nation

Mountaineer Round-up: Deuce is drafted and a duo goes for gold

Gold and Blue Nation

Canada’s Jessie Fleming, right, celebrates scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during a women’s semifinal soccer match against United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Kashima, Japan. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

From Morgantown to Tokyo, this past week was just another in which current and former Mountaineers have made headlines across the sports world.

Here’s what you may have missed, and what to look out for:

Women’s Soccer

West Virginia is looking to reclaim its spot atop the Big 12 Conference, and it looks like they’ll have a strong defensive foundation to start off the season.

Defender Jordan Brewster and goalkeeper Kayza Massey were both named to the All-Big 12 Preseason Team on Tuesday, taking two of the 13 spots on the list.

Brewster, a senior, was named to the All-Big 12 First Team in 2020-21, and makes the preseason list for the third straight seaosn. She has played a total of 5,382 minutes for the Old Gold and Blue, logging 16 total points from the back lines.

The junior Massey took a regular starting position for the first time in 2020-21, saving 64 percent of the shots she faced while recording two clean sheets in 10 starts.

The regular season begins on Aug. 19 against Buffalo, but the Mountaineers start the season with a pair of exhibitions set against Maryland and NC State on Aug. 8 and 12.

Football

Year three of the Neal Brown era is now just a month away from kicking off.

While Brown has been busy landing high school prospects for the program’s future, fans should start planning their outfits for a fully-packed Milan Puskar Stadium. WVU announced this year’s promotions on Thursday, starting with the Gold Rush game against Virginia Tech on Sept. 18. Stripe the Stadium is slated for the Oct. 2 game against Texas Tech, while True Blue is set for the Nov. 20 clash against Texas.

Women’s Basketball

The fall season hasn’t yet started, but eyes are already turning to the winter as the women’s basketball team unveiled its non-conference schedule on Friday.

Mike Carey and the Mountaineers open their slate when they host WVU Tech, the first of six home games in the first part of the season.

“Our non-conference schedule is going to be very good,” Carey said. “We’re going to play a number of Power 5 schools in these tournaments when they come out. We’re looking forward to facing some tough competition in the non-conference, which will help prepare us for the Big 12 season.”

The Mountaineers will also make two trips to early-season tournaments, including the St. Petersburg Showcase in November and the West Palm Beach Invitational in December.

Elsewhere in Mountaineer Nation

In Tokyo…

Ashley Lawrence and Kadeisha Buchanan have solidified their place as two-time Olympic medalists — but on Thursday, they will be fighting for the gold. The Canadian duo will kick off against Sweden in the Olympic gold medal match against Sweden at the National Stadium in Tokyo at 10 p.m. after defeating the United States in the semi-finals on Monday.

Buchanan and Lawrence have emerged as leaders for their national team, starting all five Olympic fixtures so far on their road to a medal. Buchanan even donned the captain’s armband for the squad’s group stage match against Great Britain, a match in which Lawrence notched a nice assist to take the lead early in the second half (Canada and Great Britain ended up drawing the match).

Regardless of Thursday’s result, this will be Lawrence and Buchanan’s second Olympic trip home with a medal around their neck. In the 2016 games in Rio, the then-budding stars competed with Canada and earned the bronze after falling to gold medal winners Germany in the semi-final and defeating hosts Brazil in the bronze medal match. At that time, they were still members of WVU women’s soccer, and were about to embark on one of the most historic Mountaineer runs in program history.

Over at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, another former Mountaineer fell short on the track. Amy Cashin of Australia competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing 11th in her heat and 24th overall. Unfortunately, only the top 15 runners moved on to the final.

On the diamond…

Two West Virginia hurlers had strong showings over the weekend as Baltimore’s John Means and Toronto’s Alek Manoah each earned wins on the bump.

After over two years with the Blue Jays organization, Manoah finally made his debut at the Rogers Centre in Toronto against the Royals as the team settles back in to its regular home. He lasted 7.0 innings, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out four Kansas City batters as he notched the win. After nine starts, Manoah leads the team’s starting rotation in ERA (2.47), WHIP (0.972) and win-loss percentage (.750) as he holds a 3-1 record.

Means is getting back and acclimated to the rotation after missing nearly two months with an injury. He earned his first win since his hiatus on Saturday, throwing 99 pitches (his highest total since May 5) in 6.0 innings and allowing one run on four hits with six strikeouts. With a 5-3 record so far in 2021, his line sits with a 2.84 ERA and a 0.868 WHIP.

On the court…

Two Mountaineers will be hooping in the Big Apple this season — just in different boroughs.

NBA Draft night got off to a wild start for Mountaineer fans as the Phoenix Suns shipped Jevon Carter and a draft pick to the Brooklyn Nets for guard Landry Shamet.

Just hours later, the Nets’ cross-town rival New York Knicks gave Miles “Deuce” McBride a call in the second round of the NBA Draft, marking the beginning of another Mountaineer career in the Association. McBride was immediately selected for the Knicks’ Summer League team for which he will live up to his nickname with the No. 2 jersey.

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