By Tim Goodenow for MSNsportsNET.com
September 10, 2010
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - A strong effort in the corner kick game Sunday guided the West Virginia women’s soccer team to a 4-0 victory over Florida Atlantic in game two of the Hurricane Cup at Cobb Stadium in Coral Gables, Fla. The Mountaineers netted three goals off corner kicks and were strong defensively to post their second shutout of the season.
“FAU did a good job of not letting us get behind them today,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “We knew we had to concentrate and execute on set pieces. Fortunately, we did just that and scored some big goals.”
The Mountaineers dominated possession from the opening whistle and put pressure on the FAU back line throughout the match. The pressure paid off in the 24th minute as midfielder Steph Carpenter, who started her first match of this season, generated a corner kick by taking the ball to the end line and kicking it off an Owl defender. Midfielder Bri Rodriguez served a perfect ball into the heart of the box where defender Drea Barklage headed home the game’s first score from six yards out.
WVU held an 8-2 shot advantage and 1-0 lead at the half, while adjusting to Florida Atlantic’s packed in defense.
A persistent Mountaineer offense came out strong in the second half and doubled its score in the 51st minute off the foot of forward Blake Miller. WVU worked the ball up the right side, eventually finding Miller in the middle of the field. Miller quickly turned a struck a ball into the back of the net from 18 yards out – her second goal of the tournament.
Defender Mallory Smith made it 3-0 in the 69th minute – her second goal of the season. Midfielder Morgan Betscher’s corner kick was flicked on and mis-cleared out the far side of the defense where Smith charged hard, hit the crossbar, then the right post and volleyed in her third shot after a rebound save for the goal.
West Virginia closed out the scoring in the 77th minute off a header from defender Meghan Lewis – her first goal of the season. Midfielder Kristen Felice created the scoring chance after receiving a pass up the middle from forward Katie Lenz. Felice’s shot was blocked and rolled out of bounds to create the corner kick. Betscher served a ball just past the goal where Smith flicked it back into the middle as Lewis leaped high into the air and headed the ball down, across the goal line to make it 4-0.
The West Virginia back line – consisting of Barklage, Lewis, Smith, Erica Henderson and Bry McCarthy – was solid, holding the Owls to only two shots in the first 51 minutes of the contest. Goalkeeper Kerri Butler worked all 90 minutes in goal, making one save in picking up the victory.
Ten different Mountaineers took a shot, including a game-high five from Smith. WVU finished with an 18-8 shot advantage and a 6-4 corner kick edge.
“We received a lot of contributions from a lot of different people today,” said Izzo-Brown. “I’m proud of the effort the ladies gave off our bench, and it was a nice team effort to pull out a win on the road.”
WVU moves to 3-3 on the season while FAU falls to 0-6. Next up for West Virginia is its BIG EAST opener on Thursday, Sept. 16, against Pitt.