Women’s Soccer eager to get the season underway.

West Liberty’s Women’s Soccer team will play in a condensed eight game season where they will play in the MEC North Division. The Lady Toppers will kick off their season on Feb. 28 with a home opener against Notre Dame College (Ohio). Having spent the last number of months planning and preparing for the season, The Hilltoppers are extremely keen to return to competitive action for the first time in over 400 days.

In an unusual season for all sports, WLU will play in a group of four which sees the top two teams progress to the postseason. They were recently ranked third in the division in the annual pre-season coaches poll, with Fairmont State and Notre Dame College taking the top two spots and Wheeling University placing below the Toppers at number four. With a reduced amount of playing time, every game counts and they will need to make a strong start if they hope to progress to the MEC Tournament.

Head Coach, Barry Christmas will be hoping that his team can recreate their 2018 play-off run which saw them reach the MEC conference semi-finals after finishing the regular season with a 6-9-1 record. The 2019 season was one of tight margins as WLU tied four games and narrowly lost five times by one goal deficits. They finished the season strongly however, winning three of their last four games and finishing the year with back-to-back road shutouts.

The Lady Toppers will be hoping that they can turn ties into wins this year and progress to the postseason once again. “My expectations for the season are to make playoffs. I feel like the girls have put in a lot of work over the last four or five weeks,” said Graduate Assistant Coach, Gavin Shiels. “We can tell that they are hungry to improve and be the best they can be.”

Despite the adverse weather conditions over the last few weeks, the squad have been hard at work preparing for the season. “We are fortunate enough to have the bubble and be able to trai at the Highlands where will do our technical/shape work. We have been using Blatnik to do our fitness and stay as fit as possible in these challenging times,” said Shiels.

They have added nine freshmen to an already talented squad and they will be hoping that this youth mixed with the experience of returning players will produce a winning formula this Spring. “I feel like the team is shaping up pretty well as we head into our first game… I feel like this game will be on their minds all week and they will be up for the battle that Notre Dame will give us,” said Shiels. Last season saw Sophomore Alyssa Rhinaman earn a spot on the MEC All-Freshman team and is sure to play an important role for the team again.

In the next 8 weeks, The Lady Toppers will play home and away against Notre Dame College, Wheeling University and Fairmont State University with one-off games against both University of Charleston and West Virginia State University.