By Tim Goodenow for MSNsportsNET.com
November 6, 2009
STORRS, Conn. – The 24th-ranked West Virginia women’s soccer team dropped its BIG EAST semifinal match, 1-0, to 10th-ranked Marquette Friday evening at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn.
The Golden Eagles took advantage of an interesting call in the 27th minute that sent WVU midfielder Caroline Szwed to the ground resulting in a West Virginia foul. Marquette capitalized on the free kick as midfielder Julia Victor served a ball from 30-yards out towards the far post where midfielder Brittany Bares volleyed it back into the middle. Forward Rachel Sloan received the ball in front of the net for the easy finish.
||Megan Mischler nearly scores a goal in the second half Friday against Marquette (BIG EAST Conference photo).
“With being such a young team, I think some nerves got to us a little bit in the first half,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “I thought we did a really good job in the second half of settling down and putting pressure on Marquette. We then moved the ball well and were able to change the point of attack and possess it better.”
WVU turned up the heat offensively in the second half as forward Megan Mischler nearly scored the equalizer in the 49th minute. Forward Morgan Betscher served a ball deep into the box forcing MU goalkeeper Natalie Kulla off her line. Mischler took the dropped ball from Kulla and fired a quick shot at the goal that dinged hard off the left post.
“We hit the post, we hit it at their goalkeeper and just couldn’t find the back of the net,” said Izzo-Brown. “We knew it was going to be a tough battle with Marquette and it was.”
Forward Blake Miller had a solid scoring chance in the 55th minute on a hard liner from just inside the 18-yard box with Kulla making a heads-up save.
At the 67:32 mark, Bri Rodriguez carved up one MU defender and sent hard shot from 18-yards out with Kulla making the save to keep the Mountaineers off the board.
“Bri is playing with so much confidence and composure on the ball,” said Izzo-Brown. “She did a great job of linking our back line with our forwards. She was very dominate out there in the second half.”
Marquette came out strong and had the better play for the majority of the first half. Sloan slipped behind the Mountaineer back line and took the game’s first shot as goalkeeper Kerri Butler came off her line to slow Sloan down. A hustling Meghan Lewis charged hard from behind to clear the ball and deny an early goal.
WVU’s first shot of opening half came on a long range blast from all-BIG EAST midfielder Carolyn Blank in the ninth minute.
Butler was strong off her line in finishing with six saves while Kulla made six stops as well, one short of her season-high.
Both teams finished with 11 shots on the night and neither team attempted a corner kick. Mischler finished with a game-high five shots for WVU while midfielder Rosie Malone-Povolny led MU with four shots.
The Golden Eagles earned their first win-ever over the Mountaineers and have now split matches this season. West Virginia posted a 1-0 win in Morgantown on Sept. 24 during the regular season.
Marquette won its sixth-straight match to improve to 15-4-2 on the season while West Virginia dips to 9-6-6.
The Mountaineers look to extend their run of consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, working on a 10th-straight berth. The NCAA Women’s Soccer Selection Show is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m. on ESPNews.