MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With an automatic bid already secured, Monday’s NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament Selection Show was a was a stress-free event for the the Mountaineers. West Virginia secured their 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance in 23 years with a 1-0, overtime win over TCU Sunday in the Big 12 Tournament final.
After entering the Big 12 Tourney with work to do to secure a potential at-large bid, WVU ended any doubt by securing the league’s automatic bid.
“As a coach, you are always planning, planning and planning. When things aren’t in your control, you get a little bit nervous. It is always good to see our name and hear our name,” said WVU head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown.
Not only did the Mountaineers (10-4-7) earn a bid to the NCAA’s, they will host Virginia Tech (10-6-2) Sunday in a first-round matchup. Home field is particularly welcome since the Mountaineers have been on the road for over a week in Texas.
“Ten days we have been on the road. I know all of us probably need a couple days away from each other to settle in and make sure they are student-athletes and just get them home.”
West Virginia defeated the No. 2 seeded Horned Frogs with a free kick goal from fifth year defender Jordan Brewster. Her shot on goal from 90 yards out bounced once and found the back of the net.
“Honestly, I was just trying to hit our forwards,” Brewster said. “Hit it over the defender heads and have them run onto it. I guess the wind took it a little bit. It took a lucky bounce and got right over the keeper. So that was just super-exciting and the break we needed as a team.”
“I don’t think I have ever gotten to actually celebrate a goal with a teammate because it is usually way upfield,” said WVU goalkeeper Kayza Massey. “That was crazy. The wind, her kick, seriously “J” has cannons for legs. It makes sense that she was able to get that done for us. It was super-exheillerating and definitely a one-of-a-kind type goal.”
“The wind was definitely a factor. I can’t tell you that I made up that play,” Izzo-Brown said. “There’s no question. We did talk about the goalkeeper playing high off her line and to take a look. But I didn’t think Jordan Brewster would take a 90-yard look. That’s Jordan. Big players do big things in big moments.”
West Virginia enters the NCAA Tournament on a five-match win streak and they are unbeaten in their last seven matches. In the middle of the season, WVU’s postseason prospects were mixed after a slow start to the season in September.
“Everybody has to do their job and you have to execute. There’s days where you do it well and there’s days where it is just a grind. What we had to do a lot was grind,” Izzo-Brown said.
“We rallied together and had to trust each other to come together and know that it will turn out in the end,” Brewster said.