Freshman midfielder Amy Harrison
Sept. 18, 2009
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Lady Vol soccer team's season-long four-match unbeaten streak will be put to a stern test on Sunday as the Big Orange (4-2-1) ventures to Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown, W. Va., for a 1 p.m. ET contest against No. 25 West Virginia (2-2-3). The match will be broadcast locally in West Virginia by the Public Broadcasting System (WVPBS).
The Mountaineers have controlled the series over UT, winning all three close match-ups between the two squads. Then- No. 7 WVU downed the Lady Vols in Knoxville by a 2-0 count back on Sept. 28, 2003. Tennessee dropped a 1-0 decision to No. 10 West Virginia in Morgantown on Sept. 4, 2005, and fell by an identical 1-0 score to the No. 13-ranked Old Gold & Blue on Sept. 5, 2008, at the annual First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic.
The Orange & White managed a pair of heart-stopping, 2-1 wins last weekend over Memphis and Western Carolina to improve their unbeaten string to four matches. Senior forward Mick Imgram proved the heroine in both contests, scoring at 87:14 to defeat the Tigers and 83:01 to down the Catamounts. The Clifton, Va., native now boasts team-highs in goals (four), points (10) and match-winners (three) while her efforts earned her both Southeastern Conference Offensive Player and Lady Vol Athlete of the Week accolades.
Lady Vol sophomore forward Emily Dowd tickled the twine with her second goal of the campaign at 39:58 versus Memphis and tallied her third assist of `09 on Imgram's GWG to top WCU. Sophomore midfielder Chelsea Hatcher registered her first tally of the year as part of freshman defender Ali Hall's second career assist to even the score at 1-1 against Western Carolina. Rookie midfielder Amy Harrison also garnered her first career helper on Imgram's match-winning goal versus UM.
Under the direction of 14th-year head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, the West Virginia Mountaineers have become an annual fixture in the national rankings and one of the top teams in the BIG EAST Conference. Five starters return from last year's squad that went 14-3-6 and finished ranked No. 14 after losing 3-2 at Virginia in the NCAA Second Round.
WVU has certainly been challenged thus far in posting a somewhat deceiving 2-2-3 record in 2009. The Old Gold & Blue, who were ranked as high as seventh in the NSCAA poll back on Sept. 1, have already played high-profile matches against Ohio State (T, 0-0, 2OT), at No. 8 Penn State (W, 2-1), vs. BYU (L, 0-1, OT) and at No. 9 Virginia (T, 1-1, 2OT). The squad's last victory came in a 4-0 rout of Duquesne back on Sept. 3. WVU has since played to deadlocks with #9 Virginia and Boston Univ., before dropping a 1-0 decision to Dartmouth last Sunday. The Mountaineers play at Pittsburgh on Fri., Sept. 18.
Junior forward Megan Mischler and freshman forward Bry McCarthy currently lead the way offensively for West Virginia with a pair of goals each, while five different players possess at least one of WVU's seven total scores. One of those individuals is sophomore forward Blake Miller, who scored the winning goal at 80:46 to down the Lady Vols during the 2008 campaign.
Between the pipes, West Virginia returns junior netminder Kerri Butler, who managed four saves in last season's shutout victory over Tennessee. Thus far in `09, the Fredericksburg, Va., native is 2-2-3 with 20 saves and a 0.54 goals-against-average, having permitted just four scores in 671:35.