NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The seventh-ranked West Virginia women’s soccer team used a multi-goal night from sophomore Bri Rodriguez and a school record 14th shutout from its defense to down visiting Morehead State, 2-0, Friday evening at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The NCAA first round victory extends WVU’s winning streak to 13 matches – the second longest in the nation.
“Bri was outstanding tonight,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “The first goal was top notch. It doesn’t get much prettier than that.
“Her game has grown so much from just a year ago and she is doing a lot for us offensively. She deserves a lot of credit for becoming more of a threat than we have asked her to be.”
Rodriguez, an Aurora, Ill., native put the Mountaineers on the board in the 35th minute on a beautiful play started by forward Blake Miller. Miller took the ball at midfield and nutmegged a pair of Eagle defenders, the second one a service into the middle. Rodriguez took two touches to her right and drove a hard liner inside the upper left corner to make it 1-0.
Less than eight minutes later, the first team all-BIG EAST midfielder scored her seventh goal of the season at the 41:57 mark. Miller played a ball into the middle of the box where Rodrigeuz settled it, started one way and cut a defender, slotting a ball on the ground and inside right post to make it 2-0.
The multi-goal night was the first of Rodriguez’s career and the fifth assist in the last three matches for Miller.
Not to be outdone, WVU’s back line of Bry McCarthy, Erica Henderson, Meghan Lewis, Drea Barklage and Chelsey Corroto came up big again, holding Morehead State to four shots on-goal and only two corner kicks.
Goalkeeper Kerri Butler worked all 90 minutes in making four saves and earning her 44th career shutout.
The team’s 14 shutouts surpass the previous record of 13, set in each of the past four seasons.
“It’s outstanding that we could break that record,” said Butler, “It’s been a record for so many years now and the players on the team really earned it. My teammates have battled the whole season, and to get this 14th shutout is very rewarding.”
“Special teams do special things,” said Izzo-Brown. “And for this team to get to 14 definitely makes me feel good because of how hard they have worked. It’s exciting to finally get to 14 and to put that in the record books, and kind of move forward.”
West Virginia has allowed only one goal in the last 673 minutes.
A crowd of 1,688 attended tonight’s contest – the second largest crowd for a women’s soccer game at Dick Dlesk.
“I can’t describe how much in words I appreciate what the fans did tonight,” said Izzo-Brown. “The support they provided tonight was awesome. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The West Virginia offense came out aggressive from the opening whistle, including a header from Barklage that sailed wide left of the goal on the Mountaineers’ second corner kick of the match.
In the 17th minute, forward Megan Mischler received a short pass from Rodriguez inside the box. Mischler quickly sent a shot towards the far post that drifted wide of the goal.
Forward Frances Silva got into the mix with a shot at the 28:57 mark on a cross from Mischler. Silva cut one defender and shot a line drive that was blocked as goalkeeper Lily Meisner came off her line to make a diving stop.
Morehead State had one scoring opportunity in the first half, taking the first shot of the match as forward Erin Adams slotted a ball just wide of the goal.
Mischler led all players with a game-high five shots as WVU outshot MSU, 21-8, and held a 9-2 corner kick advantage.
Morehead State (13-7-1) was paced by Adams’ four shots and Meisner made seven saves in 90 minutes between the posts.
Less than five minutes into the second half, Butler came off her line to keep the Eagles off the board. Forward Giuleana Lopez slipped behind the Mountaineer defense on a through ball and hurried a shot towards the left post as Butler approached. The shot trickled just outside the left post and out of bounds.
The two first half goals are the most since WVU took a 3-0 lead into the half at Cincinnati on Oct. 1. The Mountaineers are 12-0 when scoring two or more goals in a match this season.
West Virginia (17-4-1) advances to the NCAA second round for the eighth time in 11 seasons and are 6-3 in its last nine NCAA tournament matches.
WVU plays host to Penn State on Sunday, Nov. 14, at 1 p.m. at Dick Dlesk. NCAA second round ticket prices are $7 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 18 and younger) and senior citizens. Admission is free for West Virginia University students with a valid student ID.
Free WVU student shuttle bus service will be available for Sunday’s match from the Mountainlair & the Brooke/Braxton Towers loop from noon to 1 p.m. Return service to the Mountainlair & the Brooke/Braxton Towers will also be available at the conclusion of the match.
Fans can follow live in-game statistics and play-by-play online through GameTracker on MSNsportsNET.com and a free WebStream also will be available.