MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A strong defensive effort and two goals in the final 11 minutes pushed No. 13-ranked West Virginia past visiting Purdue, 3-0, on Sunday afternoon at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
Leading 1-0 at the half, the Mountaineers used scores from defender Mallory Smith and midfielder Bri Rodriguez to finish off the Boilermakers.
“It was a nice, overall performance from the team today in defeating a tough Purdue team,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “Before the game we talked about working hard and I was pleased with our effort.”
The Mountaineers took a 2-0 lead in the 80th minute as Smith knocked in a Bry McCarthy free kick deep into the box. McCarthy earned the scoring try after pushing the ball past midfield and being tackled by a Purdue midfielder.
Rodriguez completed the scoring with a brilliant one-time finish in the 83rd minute. Forward Emily Dillon chased down a ball in the left corner, sending a line drive into the middle where Rodriguez slotted a ball out of the air, into the top left corner to make it 3-0.
“That’s a big-time finish from a big-time player,” said Izzo-Brown. “Dillon sent a great ball into the middle and Rod knocked it home with a defender in her face.”
WVU goalkeeper Sara Keane, along with defenders McCarthy, Drea Barklage, Meghan Lewis and Erica Henderson, held the Boilermakers to just two shots on the afternoon. Purdue’s two shots marked the fewest by an opponent since August 2008.
Keane made one save in her first career shutout, denying Purdue of a scoring opportunity in the 68th minute. Forward Katie Leinert had slipped behind the Mountaineer back line on a through ball as Keane came up with nice kick save to keep Purdue off the board.
The Mountaineers took a 1-0 lead at the 40:43 mark off the foot of forward Blake Miller. Smith won a 50-50 ball off a goal kick, sending a header at forward Katie Lenz who flicked it up the left side. Miller took a few touches before slotting a ball on the ground and past goalkeeper Clara Kridler.
Kridler finished with six saves and made a big stop on a Kate Schwindel shot in the 78th minute. Lenz sprinted to a ball in the left corner and played a ball back inside to a trailing Schwindel. Schwindel fired a shot at close range with Kridler sliding to her left to make stop.
West Virginia outshot Purdue, 15-2, led by Miller and Schwindel’s game-high four shots. Each team attempted two corner kicks.
The Mountaineers improved to 19-2-1 all-time when Miller scores a goal.
The three goals scored are the most in a home opener since WVU recorded a 3-0 victory over Towson in 2008.
The Mountaineers return to action next weekend with the 2011 Penn State Invitational. West Virginia will face tournament host Penn State on Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m., followed by a match against George Mason on Aug. 28 at 12 p.m.