Many of the athletic teams at West Virginia are starting to wrap up their fall seasons, while the winter sports are just getting started. As a result, there are 14 Mountaineer teams competing in the month of November. Some of these WVU teams are facing ranked opponents in the early parts of their schedules and others are heading into the postseason. With those big games in mind, here are the top five games for Mountaineer athletics in November.
Honorable Mentions: Wrestling at the Hokie Open (November 3); Football vs Oklahoma State (November 23)
The West Virginia wrestling team is heading into its second season under head coach Tim Flynn. Last year the Mountaineers finished with a 4-14 record overall and a 3-6 record in the Big 12 Conference. WVU will start the season with a tough test, when the Mountaineers compete in the Hokie Open in Roanoke, Virginia. The Hokie Open is hosted by #16 Virginia Tech. The Mountaineers are returning four wrestlers that competed in the NCAA Wrestling Championships last season, including redshirt junior Matthew Schmitt at 133 pounds, junior Nick Kiussis at 165 pounds, redshirt sophomore and West Virginia native Nick Adams at 197 pounds, and senior Brandon Ngati at 285 pounds. The Mountaineers hope to show improvement in Flynn’s second year, and a solid performance at the Hokie Open would be a great way to start the season.
October was not fun for the West Virginia football team. The Mountaineers left the month winless and with a 3-5 record overall. Now that the toughest part of the schedule is past them, the Mountaineers can attempt to gain bowl eligibility, which would be a great highlight in Neal Brown’s first season as the head coach. As the season continues, this matchup Oklahoma State could be the deciding factor in WVU’s chances at making it to a bowl game. The Cowboys are currently 5-3, with a 2-3 Big 12 record. They are also receiving votes in the national polls. OSU came from behind last season to defeat WVU, so the Mountaineers will be looking to get a revenge win in this game on Senior Day.
5. Volleyball at #1 Texas (November 3)
2019 has been a rollercoaster season for the West Virginia volleyball team. After starting the year 4-0, the Mountaineers fell to 4-4, but then improved to 8-4. The start of Big 12 play put WVU back on a losing streak and the Mountaineers dropped to 8-8. After a few more wins and losses, WVU is now 11-11 heading into November. The Mountaineers have an opportunity to shock the country on the national stage at the beginning of this month, when they travel to Austin to face #1 Texas. The Longhorns defeated the Mountaineers three sets to none in the first meeting between the two teams this season. Texas is currently 15-2, with a perfect 9-0 record in Big 12 competition. WVU has a chance to spoil that perfect conference record in this matchup. This game will be nationally televised on ESPNU.
4. Women’s Soccer in the Big 12 Championship – Quarterfinal (November 3)
The West Virginia women’s soccer team has been surprisingly down this year and finished the regular season with a 10-6-2 record. The Mountaineers have been able to build momentum lately with a four game unbeaten streak, including last night’s come-from-behind win over TCU on Senior Night. Sophomore forward Alina Stahl and freshman defender Julianne Vallerand have led the way offensively for the Mountaineers this season, each scoring five goals. Sophomore forward Lizzie Mayfield has helped facilitate the WVU offense by leading the team with four assists. Senior goalkeeper Rylie Foster has also had a solid season with 62 saves and six shutouts. WVU now heads into postseason play, as the Mountaineers prepare to make a run in the Big 12 Championship. The Mountaineers finished fourth in the conference and will start the tournament by facing the #25 Kansas Jayhawks, who finished in fifth place. This quarterfinal match will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
3. #1 Rifle at #8 Ole Miss (November 2)
The #1 West Virginia rifle team has been at the top of the national rankings all season and the Mountaineers have proven why they belong there. WVU has started the season 2-0 with wins over #11 Nebraska and #2 TCU. The tough matches continue this month, as WVU is preparing to face multiple teams that are also nationally ranked. This GARC match against #8 Ole Miss will be a big one. Ole Miss is also undefeated after winning two matches against ranked opponents. The Mountaineers have been led by seniors Milica Babic and Morgan Phillips this season. Sophomore Jared Eddy has also emerged as one of the team’s top shooters. A win in this match against Ole Miss would help the Mountaineers secure their spot at the top of the rankings and help build momentum as WVU continues through its difficult schedule.
2. Football at #22 Kansas State (November 16)
Neal Brown has yet to get a “big win” in his first season at West Virginia. He and the Mountaineers almost came away with an upset win last night at #12 Baylor, but fell just short. They still have a chance to get a win against a ranked opponent, if #22 Kansas State can continue winning and stay in the top 25. The Wildcats are a somewhat surprising newcomer to the national rankings, after upsetting Oklahoma last week in Manhattan. They are currently 5-2 overall, with a 2-2 Big 12 record. WVU dominated K-State in last season’s 35-6 win. If the Mountaineers can get a win in this game, it could be Brown’s “big win” of his first year in Morgantown. A WVU win could also contribute to helping the Mountaineers become bowl eligible, which would also be a highlight in Brown’s first season.
1. Men’s Basketball at Pitt (November 15)
There is a lot of excitement around the West Virginia men’s basketball team this season. After a disappointing 15-21 campaign last season, Bob Huggins has brought in some new players and is confident that his team will be back on track this year. Some of the new faces include freshman forward Oscar Tshiebwe, junior guard Taz Sherman, and freshman point guard Miles “Deuce” McBride. The addition of Tshiebwe has been highly anticipated and he had a solid performance in the Gold-Blue Debut with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Sherman also played well in the Gold-Blue Debut, leading all players with 18 points and gathering six rebounds. McBride led the defensive effort during the Gold-Blue Debut by leading all players with his five steals. Some of the key returning players for WVU include sophomore forward Derek Culver, senior guard Jermaine Haley, and sophomore point guard Jordan McCabe. The Mountaineers were not able to win a single road game last season, but they will have a chance to get one in the second game of the season when they travel up the road to take on Pitt in the Backyard Brawl. The Panthers also struggled last season with a 14-19 record. WVU has won the last three games between the two teams, including last season’s 69-59 victory, and hopes to continue the streak this year. The Backyard Brawl will be nationally televised on ESPNU.
November will start with some big games for these Mountaineer teams and the excitement will continue throughout the month. Tune in to see how these WVU teams perform on the national stage.