The No. 4/12-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team unofficially opens its spring campaign with an exhibition match against Akron on Sunday, Feb. 28, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. ET.
Admission to Sunday’s exhibition is free, and a limited number of fans are welcomed to attend the match on a first-come, first-serve basis. All fans are required to wear a protective mask at all times and maintain proper social distancing in the stands.
“We’re excited to get this championship season underway,” WVU coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “The team is anxious to play at Dick Dlesk again and get this spring journey going.”
The Mountaineers return to action after earning a 7-2 mark in their conference-only slate last fall. WVU finished at No. 4 in the United Soccer Coaches National Poll and was included in the top 10 in all 10 editions of the poll, including five times in the top five. This spring, the Mountaineers sit at No. 12 in the latest TopDrawerSoccer.com national poll.
WVU returns six players who were honored by the Big 12 last fall, including junior defender and 2020-21 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List selection Jordan Brewster, the conference’s defensive player of the year. Brewster, midfielder Stefany Ferrer-vanGinkel and junior forward Alina Stahl were named to the All-Big 12 First Team, while redshirt junior forward Lauren Segalla and sophomore defender Nicole Payne earned All-Big 12 Second Team nods.
Additionally, freshman midfielder Lilly McCarthy was named to the conference’s All-Freshman Team.
Ferrer-vanGinkel led WVU in scoring last fall with 13 points (6G, 1A). Stahl (3), sophomore forward Enzi Broussard (2) and sophomore forward/defender Julianne Vallerand (2) also scored multiple goals during the fall 2020 campaign.
The squad opens spring, regular-season action on Sunday, March 7, when the squad travels to St. Joseph’s. Last fall, the NCAA approved moving fall championships to spring 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Akron is led by sixth-year coach Noreen Herlihy. The Zips finished 8-10-2 in 2019, and did not compete in the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of note, WVU and Akron have never met in regular- or postseason action.