It has been a busy week in women’s athletics at West Virginia University. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights in the past week of women’s action.
The lady hoops stars faced a couple of teams this week that they were expected to beat badly. The Mountaineers started the week with a road test against the Boston University Terriers last Monday. West Virginia expected to get an easy road win early in the season, but was faced with a surprising challenge. WVU ended up trailing at halftime by a score of 33-28. The Mountaineers needed a strong second half performance from reserve player Crystal Leary who put up 11 points, 7 straight at one point to pull the Mountaineers even with the Terriers. Big lady Ayanna Dunning would have to convert critical, late free throws to preserve a West Virginia victory, 60-57.
West Virginia must have learned a little bit about not looking past their opponents when they took on USC Upstate this past Saturday. The Mountaineers came out a little sluggish in the first half, only posting a 38-27 lead going into halftime. Mike Carey coached his girls up on turning up the tempo on a lesser opponent and WVU responded. The Mountaineers blew the game wide open in the second half behind the play of their bench, to claim a 75-45 win. The WVU bench contributed 53 points in the victory.
The Mountaineers take their #12 (AP poll released today)/#19 (coaches poll released tomorrow) rankings to South Beach this week for the FIU Thanksgiving Classic. WVU will start tournament play on Saturday against LSU at 8 PM. If they beat the Tigers, West Virginia will face the winner of FIU vs Iowa on Sunday.
West Virginia senior Sarah-Anne Brault competed in the NCAA Women’s Cross-Country Championship this past Saturday in Louisville, KY. Brault competed the 6K race in 20:36 for 76th place. Obviously women’s cross country is highly competitive, as Brault was only 1:09 behind the national champion Betsy Saina of Iowa State.
The competition marks the end of Brault’s cross country career at West Virignia, one that featured: three National Championship races, three NCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Region selections, an All-Big East honor in 2011, and an All-Big 12 honor this season. A solid career by a tremendous athlete.
Brault will compete in women’s track this Spring for WVU. That concludes the 2012 WVU Women’s Cross-Country season.
West Virginia held an intrasquad competition this past weekend at the Cary Gym, the Gymnastics Fall Classic. WVU split into two squads named “Turkeys” and “Pilgrims.” In the fun but intense competition, the Turkeys took down the Pilgrims in a bit of Thanksgiving karmatic retirbution. The Turkeys were headlined by senior Alaska Richardson and junior Hope Sloanhoffer while the Pilgrims were led by seniors Chelsea Goldschrafe and Kaylyn Millick.
Turkeys beat the Pilgrims by a wishbone thin margin, 17-15. WVU will have a more serious scrimmage in the Blue-Gold intrasquad competition December 6 at 7 PM.
With their slate of competitions completed, the Mountaineers season is over. The soccer team was honored this past week with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Team Academic Award. The award is given annually to teams with a 3.0 or greater team GPA. West Virginia had a team GPA of 3.34 during the 2011-2012 school year to earn the NSCAA Award for the 11th year in a row.
The Mountaineers also made the NCAA tournament for the 13th season in a row. That’s more than a decade of excellence on the field and in the classroom. You cannot ask for more from any team.
Congratulations to Coach Nikki Izzo-Brown and her squad for a terrific 2012 season.
The Mountaineers competed in the Pitt Invitational this past weekend at Trees Pool in Pittsburgh, PA. West Virginia got some terrific individual efforts to capture a 2nd place finish at the swim meet.
In the individual competitions, West Virginia swimmers place first in two different competitions. Junior Danielle Smith took home the win in the 200m back stroke while senior Mandie Nugent won the 200m fly. Also placing in the 200m back was senior Nikki Vetterlein who finished 5th. WVU also had two others finish well in the 200m fly: 2nd place by freshman Natalie Johnsen and 9th place by sophomore Julie Ogden.
West Virginia senior Breanna McCann finished just shy of another WVU victory in the 200m breast stroke, taking home 2nd place. Sophomore Jenelle Zee won the consolation heat of the 200m breast stroke. In the 100m free, WVU freshman Jaimee Gillmore finished 5th while junior Eva Burlington top home 1st in the consolation finals.
Finally, in the 1650m free style, WVU finished with three in the top 6: senior Rachael Burnett finished 2nd, senior Kata Fodor finished 3rd, and senior Sloan Storie finished 6th.
The women’s swim team will have the coming week off for Thanksgiving before resuming action in the U.S. Winter Nationals in Austin, TX November 29- December 1.
WVU ended up losing in three straight sets to #3 Texas Longhorns 14-25, 17-25, 16-25 in Austin, TX this past Saturday. The Mountaineers hung in their against one of the best teams in the nation, tightly contesting many of the sets.
In the first set, the Mountaineers fought to a 3-3 tie early on, before Texas pulled away with a 5-0 run to salt away the first set. The Longhorns kept rolling into the second set, taking a 4-0 lead to start the set. West Virginia battled hard to close the gap to one at 14-13. Texas would go on to pummel WVU for the remainder of the set. The Mountaineers came on strong in the third set to take 2-0 at the start of the set. West Virginia kept things close up to 13-12 before Texas put it away with a 7-0 run.
The Longhorns out hit the Mountaineers 0.468 to 0.108 and dominated in blocks by a 13-3 margin. WVU was led in points by freshmen Nikki Attea and Hannah Sackett with 8 points each. Texas was led by Haley Eckerman with 19.5.
The loss extends WVU’s losing streak to 14 matches and a 8-20 (0-14 Big 12) record. The Mountaineers will go after their first Big 12 win against Iowa State on Thanksgiving Eve at 6:30 PM in the WVU Coliseum. The volleyball team will conclude their 2012 season at TCU on Saturday November 24 at 2 PM. Here is hoping that the volleyball team can finish strong with a pair of Big 12 wins.