NCAA Tournament – First Round Preview – West Virginia vs Rutgers

Saturday, 7:00 PM – West Virginia vs Rutgers

Call it Canada v. Canada. With Rutgers’ Jonelle Filigno likely to be back for this one after missing much of the last weekend through injury, she’ll likely be facing a fellow international in West Virginia’s center-back, Kadeisha Buchanan. The Mountaineers’ new star wasted no time in showing what all the fuss was about coming into the season by winning Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Big XII as a rookie. Interestingly enough though, the Mountaineers actually gave up the second most goals in league play, including multiple goals to Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech. Of course, at the same time, West Virginia did keep three clean sheets en route to the Big XII Tournament title last week. Another rookie, Carly Black has also been impressive, though the youth of the defense has been evident in shipping four goals to North Carolina and Kentucky earlier in the year. It’s a good thing then that the steady hands of Sara Keane are in between the pipes for the Mountaineers. Then again, WVU may just have to go out and outscore their opponents. They certainly have the capacity to do just that, with the trio of Frances Silva, Kate Schwindel, and Ashley Lawrence more than capable. Silva has effectively made the leap this year, netting fifteen goals and thirteen assists in a banner campaign. The senior’s proven to be lethal in both the run of play and from dead balls, with her free kicks having sunk the hopes of many. Schwindel’s scored eleven herself, giving WVU one of the nation’s best one-two punches in attack. Now it’s just a matter of proving they can do it against top competition. WVU doesn’t have that huge win they can tout, having come up short against the likes of Penn State and North Carolina earlier this year. You can’t doubt the sheer amount of talent WVU’s accrued, and the Mountaineers probably got the most forgiving quadrant of the bracket when all is said and done. At the same time, the club’s been injury hit in midfield, and that could spell doom in the second round against Virginia Tech. If they get past the Hokies though, the Mountaineers have a pretty good shot of crashing the party in Cary.

Rutgers fell short in the AAC Tournament, but the technical draw against UCF was good enough to push them over the top and into the NCAA Tournament. It was an impressive achievement considering the Scarlet Knights were without scoring talisman Jonelle Filigno through injury for almost all of the final two rounds of the tournament. Purportedly back and able to play this weekend, Rutgers’ fate likely depends on Filigno, their one player capable of truly turning a game on its head. Filigno’s career at Rutgers has been star crossed, and you’d hardly accuse her of making a great statement as a senior with just five goals that haven’t come from the spot, but she also has five game winners and has been an important presence up front to draw attention away from the club’s other attackers. And Rutgers does have other sources of goals, with Stefanie Scholz having netted ten despite starting just eleven games, while Madison Tiernan also has six goals. You have to note that the Scarlet Knights didn’t actually score last weekend though, underlining some of the problems the club has when Filigno’s out or not in form. The defense is erratic but capable of good displays, having kept clean sheets in three of their last four. They’ve also shipped six to Virginia and four to Louisville though, exposing a vulnerability to top offenses. They also had conceded two in three straight in mid-October, so it’s not like Rutgers has a standout unit in defense. Veteran Tricia DiPaolo and AAC Tournament Defensive MOP Jessica Janosz both saved some of their best on defense and in goal respectively for the AAC Tournament though, and head coach Glenn Crooks will be hoping that continues here. Filigno or no, this group isn’t going to be winning too many offensive slugfests. It’s tempting to think the Canadian will want to go out with a bang, but on paper, you’d have to say West Virginia just has too many weapons for the Scarlet Knights to deal with.

Prediction: West Virginia 2 – 1 Rutgers

Rutgers Tournament Prediction: First Round
West Virginia Tournament Prediction: Second Round

This entry was posted in NCAA Women's Soccer on by Chris Henderson.

4 thoughts on “NCAA Tournament – First Round Preview – West Virginia vs Rutgers

  1. chuck

    This time around I think your off on a couple observations.(guess too many games to keep up 🙂
    1. Katie Schwindel has been out since WVU last regular season game vs. Texas Tech. Matter of fact that is a huge reason they lost that game 2-0 as when she when out the momentum of the game completely switched in favor of Tech. WVU’s run to win Big 12 tournament without their 2nd leading scorer has been nothing less than great coaching and sheer will / determination by the staff and players. Especially after they had already endured the season ending loss of 2 starting midfielders and a quality backup earlier in the season
    2. To say ” the Mountaineers have one of the most forgiving quadrant of the bracket” is in my opinion way off. WVU is now ranked in almost every major poll in the top 10 and has 15 RPI. And what the did committee reward them with? 1st rd – An 11-5-3 very good(rpi 30) Rutgers squad. 2nd rd potential matchup with a great #1 seed VA Tech team (rpi 7) and then potentially a cross country trip to play 4th seeded Santa Clara. Is that really a “forgiving quadrant”?
    WVU gets the short end of the stick by the NCAA committee year in and year out due to geography (Virginia, Wake Forest, Penn State, VA tech) all within the ridiculously required “bus ride” criteria the NCAA committee uses to match-up teams to save money.
    Boston college who was 10-9-1 gets to play northeastern (6-8-6) ??
    Can you imagine if they thought this way in football or basketball when it comes to bowl games or NCAA brackets…LOL
    With all said, the Mountaineers will find a way ! Thanks for the great womens soccer coverage!

    1. Chris Henderson Post author

      Rutgers, Virginia Tech, and Santa Clara are all very much beatable. Especially for a club with West Virginia’s talent and in comparison to other quads.

    2. Ed F

      If you have to play one of the top 4 seeds, I’d choose VT as the team to play.. yes, they beat Virginia, but from an overall strength – you’d really like to avoid UNC, FSU and Virginia. FSU’s defense is quite stout and difficult to store against. Offense is a counter attacking style, but they have some tall Icelanders on there that find ways to score/beat you. UVA – everyone pretty much knows about them, and whether you’re going to sniff the ball or not depends on the team. The only ones that have exposed them are somewhat possessive type of teams and someone who can beat them with pace or over the top. Most teams are just overmatched and never/rarely sniff the people. UNC – they play a different formation than most and are very direct. I’m actually surprised they haven’t scored more goals this year. It takes a lot of absorb what kind of talent, speed, numbers they throw at you and then be able to hit back. . anyhow, all three are more difficult to play than VT who are very very good – just a lot more traditional about it.

      But yes, there is no doubt that VT is the weakest 1 seed of the 4. So, if they can get past some of the obstacles, the rest of the path certainly looks easier. Santa Clara has faded alot compared to their preseason expectations.


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