After playing all their games on the road during the program’s inaugural season a year ago, the West Liberty University women’s soccer team now has a home to call its own. Coach Barry Christmas and his Lady Hilltoppers will play the first home soccer match in school history Saturday at noon when they host Chowan (N.C.) University at the brand-new West Liberty Soccer Complex.

From left, WLU Sophomore Kaylynn Petrisin, Morgantown; Coach Barry Christmas; Sophomore Sarah Evans, Morgantown.

From left, WLU Sophomore Kaylynn Petrisin, Morgantown; Coach Barry Christmas; Sophomore Sarah Evans, Morgantown, are shown on the new soccer complex field.

Located adjacent to the north end of the WLU campus, the latest addition to the University’s athletic facilities was definitely worth the wait.

It features a fully-computerized irrigation system with an extensive drainage network and one of the best natural-grass pitches in the region, having been fully sodded with a luxuriant Kentucky bluegrass playing surface.

An electronic scoreboard keeps spectators up to date and wireless Internet access is available for all visiting media.

The West Liberty women’s soccer team kicked off its season with a tough 2-1 loss to Point Park Thursday night at Highmark Stadium, Pittsburgh.

Coach Barry Christmas‘s debuting Hilltoppers had the better of play for much of the night against the host Pioneers (1-2) but a goal in the 88th minute snapped a 1-1 tie to give Point Park the win.

The 2013-14 academic year marks the soccer team’s second year in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Conference. While competing against other teams in the system, Coach Christmas said the team will play 10 of this season’s games at their new field while traveling to other schools to play eight.

The sports complex came as the result of cooperation between the trustees of the Prall Cemetery and the University, according to WLU Vice President of Institutional Advancement Jason Koegler. The land, owned by the cemetery but not used for burial, was previously used for a softball field by the West Liberty.

Koegler said the new complex is about 12,000 square feet in size with bleachers and natural hillside seating for about a few hundred spectators.

“The funding came mostly from the university,” Koegler said. He added a $55,000 gift came from an alumnus for the Kentucky blue grass sod.

Christmas said the team would like to promote community involvement as much as possible and encouraged local youth soccer teams to contact the university to get involved.