Students will be returning to Morgantown this month to start what they hope will be a normal school year, and the return of students also means the return of West Virginia athletics. With capacity restrictions lifting for this year’s sporting events, excitement is growing, and fans are excited to see their Mountaineers play again. August will start the year out with some interesting matchups, so let’s see which games are the biggest for WVU.
5. Volleyball at Old Dominion (August 27th)
The West Virginia volleyball team continued to show improvement last season and made the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 15 Poll three times, but still left much to be desired with a 10-11 record. The Mountaineers’ improvement was evident with their two wins over ranked opponents and their 8-8 mark in conference play, which is the best they have had since joining the Big 12. WVU is now ranked sixth in the Big 12 Preseason Poll. This matchup against Old Dominion is a rematch of last year’s season finale, a match that the Mountaineers won 3-1. WVU will also face Loyola and Hampton during this road trip, as part of the Old Dominion Tournament.
4. Women’s Soccer vs Duquesne (August 29th)
Last season ended with a shocking loss to Rice in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament, which was not how the West Virginia women’s soccer team envisioned its 21st-straight appearance in the national tournament. WVU only lost one senior after last season, so it will be returning a roster full of experience and talent. One standout on the roster is senior defender Jordan Brewster, who was named a 2020-21 United Soccer Coaches All-American. Brewster started all 14 games and helped the Mountaineer defense achieve three clean sheets last year. Duquesne struggled last season with a 3-5-1 record, so WVU should have no trouble in this game. The match will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
3. Women’s Soccer vs Buffalo (August 19th)
The WVU women’s soccer team is returning one of its two leading scorers from last season. Senior forward Alina Stahl scored on 21.4% of her shots last season to tally six goals for the Mountaineers. She was helped by redshirt senior forward Lauren Segalla, who led the team with five assists. This home opener against Buffalo will be the first regular season match for WVU. It will also be the first non-exhibition game for all of Mountaineer sports this fall. Despite a limited schedule, UB had a solid season last year by going 6-1-1. So WVU will need to be ready to play when it kicks off the 2021 season in this match. Mountaineer fans can watch the game on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
2. Men’s Soccer vs Pitt (August 30th)
After a 6-3-1 season in Dan Stratford’s first year as the head coach of the West Virginia men’s soccer team, the Mountaineers are preparing for a full schedule with 17 regular season matches. This will also be WVU’s final season as a member of the Mid-American Conference in men’s soccer, as it will be joining Conference USA in 2022. The Mountaineers are bringing back their top seven goal scorers from last year, including senior forward, and Fairmont native, Ike Swiger, who led the team with four goals last season. WVU will have a tough matchup in this rivalry game against Pitt. Although the preseason rankings are not out yet, it is likely that the Panthers will be in the top 25 after their run to the NCAA Tournament semifinals last season. Another team that made the semifinals was Marshall, who went on the win the national title, but was also defeated by the Mountaineers, 1-0, during the regular season. Hopefully WVU will have a similar result in this year’s edition of the men’s soccer Backyard Brawl.
1. Women’s Soccer vs Virginia (August 22nd)
The Virginia women’s soccer team and WVU faced off twice last season. The Mountaineers won the first match in Morgantown, 1-0, thanks to a late goal from midfielder Isabella Sibley. Sibley also scored a late goal in the second game in Charlottesville, which saved WVU from a loss and led to a 1-1 tie in double-overtime. The Cavaliers went on to make the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament last year. Both teams will likely be ranked when the preseason rankings are released, and it is very possible that they will remain in the top 25 leading up to this match. UVA is returning its two leading scorers from last season, junior Diana Ordonez and senior Alexa Spaanstra, who scored 12 and 10 goals, respectively. WVU head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown will have her team prepared for these two scorers and the entire Cavs team when these two powerhouse programs square off in Morgantown. This match will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
The last two weeks in August will be full of some big games for the WVU volleyball and soccer teams. Tune in to support the Mountaineers this month and let us know what other games you’re looking forward to this fall!