Sports fans have yearned for the return of sports all throughout the COVID-19 pandemic since all the way back in March when the NCAA college basketball tournament was canceled.
The consensus among sports fans has been that the return of games will add just a bit of normalcy back into their lives where they can sit and watch a game for an hour or two without having to worry about the virus or any other stresses that come from it. It’s not just sports fans that have longed for this, however, West Virginia women’s soccer head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said Wednesday that she has been wanting the exact same thing.
“It was so incredibly awesome for me to just focus on soccer for the first 45 minutes and then the next 45 minutes,” Izzo-Brown said. “I can’t even believe how much I’ve missed that.”
Izzo-Brown and the Mountaineers traveled to Ames, Iowa for their season-opener against Iowa State last Friday. WVU won the match 2-0 and Izzo-Brown said being able to just think about soccer, even just for a little bit, was great.
“There’s so many things that you’re worried about this year and the uncertainty of COVID and just trying to keep these kids safe,” Izzo-Brown explained. “I found my mind just worrying about the win and worrying about coaching and it was a wonderful worry.”
The Mountaineers got goals from senior Stefany Ferrer-Vanginkel and junior Alina Stahl in the win at Iowa State. Junior goalkeeper Maddie Murphy had to make just two saves in the game.
Izzo-Brown said she was a little uncertain about how the team would perform given the abbreviated spring period and COVID precautions in place this fall.
“As all teams, we’ve lost that development time in the spring. Not only soccer-wise..but just knowing the kids and what type of kids they are,” Izzo-Brown said. “I was really pleased with our mindset going into that Iowa State game.”
West Virginia continues its season at 7 p.m. Friday against Kansas State in home-opener at Dick Dlesk Stadium in Morgantown.