WVU Handles No. 6 Virginia
By Tim Goodenow for MSNsportsNET.com
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Sophomore Megan Mischler netted two goals and an overpowering Mountaineer defense guided 14th-ranked West Virginia past sixth-ranked Virginia, 3-0, Sunday afternoon in front of 1,615 fans at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
“I just told the girls how proud I was of them,” said Head Coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “They battled, stuck with the game plan and executed. It was a great team effort today.
“We have so much respect for Virginia as they are year-in, year-out one of the best teams in the country. For us to come out and beat them 3-0 really makes a statement.”
Mischler put West Virginia on the board early, less than two minutes into the match, with her third goal of the season. Mischler took a shot that was blocked by Virginia goalkeeper Celeste Miles and followed with another try, sending a ball on the ground inside the far post to put WVU on top 1-0.
The goal came at 1:57, the fastest of the season for the Mountaineers. It marked the first time this season that the previously unbeaten Cavaliers had trailed in a game.
“With the early goal, we were so much more comfortable playing our game,” said forward Mischler. “Everyone was pumped and it kind of set the tone for the rest of the match.”
The Moon Township, Pa., native completed the scoring in the 83rd minute on a breakaway up the middle to make it 3-0. Mischler got behind the Cavalier back line on the right side and received a perfect pass from junior Carolyn Blank, leaving her one-on-one with backup goalkeeper Sam Hale. Mischler slid the ball past a charging Hale for the first multi-goal game of her career.
“I was standing with the back line and Carolyn poked it through, giving me space to run,” said Mischler. “I saw the keeper coming out and I put a touch on it to help seal the deal.”
Blank was outstanding in the middle for WVU, controlling possession and winning balls in both halves of the field.
WVU’s back line of Robin Rushton, Kelsey Fowler, Nicole Mailloux and Greer Barnes played a stellar 90-minute match in giving West Virginia its sixth shutout of the season.
Virginia entered the contest with 20 goals scored and a 163-22 shot advantage on the season. The Mountaineer defense was fantastic, holding the Cavaliers to four shots and their first scoreless game of the year.
West Virginia’s defense kept the dangerous Virginia offense off-balance all afternoon, limiting the Cavaliers to only three shots on-goal.
“I thought our back line was fantastic,” said Izzo-Brown. “They played solid, they were focused, and they were ready for what Virginia was going to give them.”
Freshman Blake Miller added her second goal of the season to put West Virginia on top, 2-0, in the 71st minute. Miller stole a Virginia clearance and raced towards the ball with the UVA goalkeeper charging down. Miller one-timed the ball into the back of the net for the score.
“She’s a kid with no fear,” said Izzo-Brown. “If you looked into her eyes, she was scoring. You want a forward who is not going to hold back. Blake’s goal was huge, giving us a small cushion at 2-0.”
West Virginia’s win over Virginia, ranked sixth nationally, is the second highest win over a ranked opponent in school history. A year ago, WVU posted a 1-0 win at fifth-ranked Penn State in the NCAA tournament.
“We had a tremendous crowd today and I can’t thank them enough,” said Izzo-Brown. “There is no question that when we get a big crowd, we play off their energy. Today, they helped us pull out a big win.”
The Mountaineers held a 7-4 shot advantage while the Cavaliers owned a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks.
WVU sophomore goalkeeper Kerri Butler was solid off her line, making three saves in the win.
West Virginia improves to 4-0-1 at home this season and 6-1-1 overall. WVU is now 18-2-3 in its last 23 home contests.
Miles finished with two saves as Virginia falls to 6-1-1 on the season.
The Mountaineers return to action on Thursday, Sept. 25, at St. John’s in their first BIG EAST road contest of the season. Kickoff at Belson Stadium is schedule for 4:30 p.m.
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