MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A two-goal effort from forward Blake Miller and outstanding play in the midfield guided West Virginia to a 3-0 shutout over visiting Georgetown Sunday afternoon at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
With the win, the Mountaineers have secured a first round bye in the 2010 BIG EAST Championship as West Virginia can finish no lower than second place in the American Division.
“For us to secure a first round bye in our conference is a huge accomplishment,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “This team has improved each week throughout the season and has worked extremely hard to put themselves in this position.”
The win also marked the program’s 200th win as West Virginia has run off seven consecutive wins – the most since beginning the 2006 season at 7-0.
“There’s nothing more important than 201 right now,” laughed Izzo-Brown. “It’s wonderful but I just think about all the people who have helped get this program to where it is today. I understand the significance but that credit needs to be shared with a lot of players, coaches, support staff and many others.”
The Mountaineers took a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute on a beautiful finish from Miller on a cross from forward Frances Silva. Silva blew past a Hoya defender and took the ball up the right side before sending a ball into the middle of the box. Miller leaped high in the air and headed in the service from eight yards out for the early goal.
“You have to give it up for our ladies today,” said Izzo-Brown. “They came out focused and stuck to the game plan. They played hard and finished some scoring chances when we had them.”
West Virginia added insurance goals in the 87th and 88th minutes from Silva and Miller to lock down its 11th win of the season. Silva’s goal was the second of the season for the freshman and team-leading eighth goal for Miller.
The teams played a very even opening 45 minutes with the majority of play coming in the middle of the field. Despite the 1-0 lead, WVU held a slight 4-2 edge on shots including two shots on-goal from Silva.
“Credit Ashtin (Larkin), (Caroline) Szwed and (Bri) Rodriguez for dealing with (Georgetown’s) Ingrid Wells,” said Izzo-Brown. “She’s a national team player and we pretty much shut her down. She’s a great player but our midfield was outstanding in keeping up with her today.”
The Mountaineers came out aggressive in the second half but could not string together scoring chances in the final third of the field.
Georgetown’s best scoring chance came in the 75th minute on one of forward Camille Trujillo’s game-high five shots. Trujillo ripped a low-liner towards the near post with goalkeeper Kerri Butler making a diving stop.
At the 86:45 mark, midfielder Szwed slotted a ball up the middle to Silva who had a defender on her inside shoulder. Silva took a touch, cut one defender and sent a ball past goalkeeper Jackie DesJardin to put WVU up 2-0.
“I’m so happy for Frances,” added Izzo-Brown. “That kid works so hard and has been so close to finishing some great goals. I’m glad she got one this afternoon.”
Silva’s one goal, one assist afternoon was the first in exactly two years since a rookie recorded a three-point day (Blake Miller vs. Georgetown - Oct. 17, 2008).
Miller completed the scoring with her second goal at 87:36 off a Georgetown miscue. DesJardin sent a low punt where Miller stepped in front of a Hoya player to intercept the pass and head the other way. Miller took a few dribbles before chipping the ball over DesJardin for the 3-0 lead.
Miller, a St. Louis, Mo., native, has scored at least one point in five of the last seven matches. The Mountaineers are 16-2-1 all-time when Miller scores a goal.
The Hoyas became dangerous late, thanks in large part to the long throw of forward Samantha Baker. The Mountaineer defense, led by Erica Henderson and Chelsey Corroto, held tight in picking up their ninth shutout of the season and sixth in league play. Butler logged all 90 minutes, making two saves.
Both teams recorded seven shots and two corner kicks each on the final stat sheet.
West Virginia moves to 11-4-1 (7-1-1 BIG EAST) to snap Georgetown’s three-game win streak, making the Hoyas 12-5-0 (6-3-0 BIG EAST).
WVU wore its pink Nike uniforms as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Day, and at halftime, assistant coach Marisa Kanela presented the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center with a check for more than $12,000.
WVU closes out the regular season with a pair of home contests, beginning on Friday, Oct. 24, against BIG EAST foe Connecticut in a match presented by EZToUse.com. The first 200 fans in attendance will receive a FREE t-shirt courtesy of EZToUse.com.