The Big 12 women’s soccer season is in its homestretch, but the regular season title is still up for grabs — and two of the conference’s toughest contenders are set to duke it out as they jockey for position in the standings in Austin, Texas on Thursday.
West Virginia treks down to the Texan capital to square off against the No. 21 Texas Longhorns, who sit atop the Big 12, at 8 p.m. ET on the Longhorn Network. This is the first of three contests for the Mountaineers to end the season, and they need at least two victories for a shot at the conference regular season title.
WVU (9-4-2, 3-2-1 Big 12) heads to Texas after a loss and a win a week prior, which caused the squad to slip out of the national polls. Texas (8-3-4, 4-0-2 Big 12) took their spot at No. 21, jumping four spots in the poll after recording a road draw with Baylor.
The Longhorns are currently on top of the Big 12 with 14 points, despite TCU leading the pack with 16 points with an extra game under their belt. WVU has earned 10 points, only one of which has come on the road.
As it stands all three of those clubs have a shot at the top seed in the conference tournament, as do Baylor (11 points, three games to go) and Oklahoma State (seven points, four games to go).
“The parity of the conference and what’s going on is definitely that, anyone can win on any given day, so it’s really interesting how every game — you can win it or you can lose it just because of the development of each team here,” said WVU coach Nikki Izzo-Brown.
With so few games to go, Izzo-Brown added that every game is now for a championship.
In its last time on the pitch, West Virginia took a 2-0 victory over Texas Tech, spearheaded by a brace from senior Isabella Sibley. That contest was part of a recent trend of veterans making major impacts in games on both ends of the pitch, with senior Jordan Brewster earning her second Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week nod earlier this month.
WVU will face one of the most lethal attacking duos in the Big 12 in Lexi Missimo and Trinity Byars, who have each notched eight goals this season, while combining to add 17 assists.
“They’re just two special players,” Izzo-Brown said. “Obviously they represent USA and youth soccer. [Texas] had the best recruiting class in the country because of those two, we’re going to have our hands full because of those two.”
Kickoff between the Mountaineers and the No. 21 Longhorns is set for 8 p.m. ET on the Longhorn Network.