Nikki Izzo-Brown’s hit the road, and took a hit — now, they have the chance to rebound as they host the top team in the conference in the 11th-ranked TCU Horned Frogs at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
The No. 21 Mountaineers (8-3-2, 2-1-1 Big 12) had a winless road trip against both Kansas State and Kansas, punctuated by a disappointing loss to the Jayhawks for their first loss in the league. WVU’s attempt at a bounce-back win won’t be easy, as the Horned Frogs (11-2-1, 3-1-1 Big 12) sit tied for second in the Big 12 as the conference’s defending champions.
WVU will be looking for revenge against TCU in this year’s clash. In 2020, the two squared off in Fort Worth for the first time as ranked opponents — the Mountaineers at No. 5 and the Horned Frogs at No. 4 — and TCU’s Grace Collins gave the hosts the edge for a 1-0 victory. That was the first loss in regulation for the Mountaineers all season, and just their second against the Horned Frogs in the history of the series, which WVU leads 9-2-2 since 2012.
Collins travels to Morgantown as the biggest threat to the Mountaineers, leading TCU with eight goals and seven assists in the season. She spearheads the high-octane Horned Frog attack, which leads the league with 35 goals.
“They’re good, it’s going to be a heck of a soccer match on Thursday,” Izzo-Brown said. “They have it all, they’re not lacking in any department, that’s for sure. We will have our hands full, it will be a great match, so it’s going to be exciting.”
West Virginia likely won’t make it easy for Collins, as the Mountaineer defense is the second-most stout in the Big 12 so far. Led by two-time Big 12 Defender of the Week honoree Jordan Brewster, WVU has allowed nine goals — only TCU has allowed fewer with eight.
This contest is crucial for the Big 12 standings. West Virginia sits a half-game behind TCU, which is tied with Baylor for second place in the league. The Mountaineers have the chance to jump the Horned Frogs with a victory, which would put them a half-game behind top-seeded Texas.
“What a great opportunity for these young women going into this game, and this is what it’s about,” Izzo-Brown said. “You’ve got to take care of points, and if you want to win a championship, you want to win these games.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+.