Mountaineers host K-State aiming for first 2-0 start since 2017

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West Virginia women’s soccer is back in Morgantown for their home opener against Kansas State after taking a 2-0 victory over Iowa State in their season debut last week. Action kicks off at 7 p.m at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium, and fans can watch on ESPN+.

The Mountaineers put together a persuasive victory in Ames against the Cyclones behind an early goal from Stefany Ferrer-vanGinkel, the team’s only senior, then another from junior Alina Stahl later in the match. While the win was nice, though, head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown was simply relieved to be on the sidelines once again.

“It was incredibly awesome for me to just focus on soccer for the first 45 minutes and then the next 45 minutes,” she said. “I can’t even believe how much I’ve missed that.”

Both fans and the coach herself learned a lot about the squad last week. Izzo-Brown kept her lineup cards close right up until kickoff when it was revealed that transfer Maddie Murphy was the Mountaineers’ starter in net, beating out sophomore Kayza Massey for the spot.

Coming from Boston College, Murphy earned a clean sheet in her first-ever start in the Old Gold and Blue.

“She definitely stepped up exactly and held that standard exactly to excellence,” she said. “So I was really pleased with how Maddie stepped up, being a transfer it’s never easy.”

Izzo-Brown threw another wrinkle in her lineup when she started Nicole Payne at right back as opposed to her previous spot up front.

“That is an area that we feel she is very effective and she has gotten very comfortable with [it], and [she] has embraced that position,” Izzo-Brown said. “As you know, she has a lot of strengths in defining what a right back should look like, so she has those attributes.”

Her new-look lineup will face its second test against the Wildcats, a squad that hasn’t given WVU any struggle. Since they were established as a program in 2015, Kansas State has faced West Virginia just three times, with all of those matchups going to the Mountaineers.

In fact, Kansas State has never been able to score against West Virginia.

“We have a good foundation, and now we’ve just gotta build off of it,” Izzo-Brown said.

Kansas State at West Virginia kicks off at 7 p.m. on ESPN+. Gold and Blue Nation will be at the stadium giving live updates on the action, as well has highlights after the final whistle.

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