Mountaineers Fall In OT


By Tim Goodenow for MSNsportsNET.com
August 20, 2010

 
  Sophomore Bri Rodriguez netted the first goal of 2010 for West Virginia on Friday.
All-Pro Photography/Dale Sparks photo

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Forward Tani Costa’s goal with 49 seconds remaining in overtime was the difference in No. 11 Penn State’s 2-1 win over No. 24 West Virginia Friday night at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The teams played in front of 1,277 fans – the fifth-largest crowd for a women’s soccer match at Dick Dlesk.

“I thought the crowd was fantastic tonight,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “We battled a very good team tonight but came up a little short. They are a very athletic team and we hung in well against what is a top 10 team.”

PSU forward Halley Brock found Costa wide open at the top of the 18-yard box to set up the game-winner. Costa took a dribble and cut back to her right and ripped a shot into right side of the goal to secure the victory.

The one-goal margin was the fifth-straight in the series in which WVU leads all-time 4-3.

West Virginia tied the match at 1-1 in the 33rd minute off the foot of midfielder Bri Rodriguez. Forward Blake Miller sent a ball into the middle where Rodriguez started her attack from 30-yards out. Rodriguez beat two PSU defenders going to her left and fired a shot inside the right side netting for the equalizer.

“Bri is a special player and she was very good tonight,” said Izzo-Brown. “She made a brilliant move in the middle of the field to get a shot off. We need more and more out of her this season.”

Penn State struck first with a goal in the 22nd minute from forward Danielle Toney. The Nittany Lions sent a ball over the top over the Mountaineer defense where Toney used her speed to chase the ball down and beat WVU goalkeeper Kerri Butler for a 1-0 lead. Butler’s diving attempt pushed the ball towards the far post where the ball bounced in for the score.

Despite allowing two goals, Butler was very good on the field as she matched her career high with nine saves.

“Kerri made some great saves and was a good leader out there tonight,” said Izzo-Brown. “I don’t think she let in any goal that wasn’t a world-class attempt tonight. I’m proud of the way she played tonight.”

Butler made saves of all varieties including a finger-tip stop in the 54th minute. Brock had slipped behind the defense and sent a shot to Butler’s left where she extended her glove to push the ball just wide of the goal and preserve a 1-1 score.

The Mountaineer offense was paced by Miller’s four attempts and nearly scored first off a shot from midfielder Ashtin Larkin in the 10th minute. Larkin blasted a ball from just inside the 18-yard box off a Rodriguez corner kick that clanged hard off the left post and back into play. Defender Erica Henderson took the rebound and sent a shot just wide of the goal.

Penn State out-shot the Mountaineers 23-10 and held an 11-4 edge in corner kicks. The PSU win was the first since 2005 as West Virginia had won four-straight over the Nittany Lions.

“No team is ever satisfied with a loss but you have to have a starting point,” said Izzo-Brown. “Tonight was it. We took a top 10 team into overtime. We had chances to win it but we have to get better and we only move forward from here.”

The Mountaineers have a week off before taking to the road for the first time in 2010. WVU travels to Bowling Green on Aug. 27 and concludes the trip with a match at Ohio State on Aug. 29.




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