MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia women’s soccer team played its most complete match of the season in scoring a 3-1 win over No. 8 Marquette on Sunday afternoon at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The win marked WVU’s seventh-straight season defeating at Top 10 opponent.
“This was a true 90-minute, total team effort by our ladies today,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “We have so much respect for Marquette and I’m proud of the effort we gave today in getting a result.”
The Mountaineers have won four-straight matches and move to 2-0-0 (6-3-0 overall) in BIG EAST Conference play. Marquette drops to 1-1-0 (8-2-0 overall) in league play while having its 16-match conference win streak snapped.
“Every team battles that Thursday-Sunday or Friday-Sunday tough travel weekend,” said Izzo-Brown of starting conference play. “To bring this performance today, in that type of turnaround, was just unbelievable.”
Just before halftime, senior forward Blake Miller put the Mountaineers on the board with a header in the 43rd minute. Miller started the play in the middle of the field, sending a ball to the right corner to forward Emily Dillon. Dillon beat a defender to the end line and served a high ball towards the back post where Miller out-jumped an MU defender to send a shot past goalkeeper Natalie Kulla for a 1-0 lead.
West Virginia carried its momentum into the second half with a goal at 45:50 off the head of rookie forward Kate Schwindel. Midfielder Bri Rodriguez offered a perfect tight service into the middle of the box where Schwindel’s header deflected off the gloves of a diving Kulla and across the goal line.
“It was a perfect ball in as I slipped behind their defender,” said Schwindel. “I’m glad I had enough pace on it to reach the back of the net. It was kind of a slow roller.”
The goal was the first of Schwindel’s career, who earlier in the match rifled a shot off the crossbar in the 30th minute.
WVU added to its lead in the 82nd minute on a Frances Silva goal. Schwindel played a pass to Miller in transition, who calmly saw Silva streaking up the right center of the field. Silva took the pass in stride, slotting a ball past Kulla, the reigning BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year, to make it 3-0.
West Virginia’s defense nearly picked up a shutout until the 87th minute when freshman Mary Luba finished a rebound save to make it 3-1. MU’s Katie Hismeh played a ball in from the left side that was deflected in traffic, forcing WVU goalkeeper Sara Keane to knock the ball down as Luba kicked in the loose ball.
Marquette entered the match out-scoring its opponents, 25-5, and out-shooting them 169-49, on the season. The Mountaineers earned a 16-8 shot advantage on the afternoon, led by Schwindel’s game-high five attempts.
Miller has scored a goal in three-straight matches as WVU moves to 22-2-1 all-time when she scores a goal.
WVU’s back line of Bry McCarthy, Erica Henderson, Drea Barklage and Meghan Lewis, eliminated the Golden Eagles from creating scoring chances throughout the match. Marquette is the third West Virginia opponent this season held to less than 10 shots.
In the 77th minute, Miller nearly added a second goal off a pass from Rodriguez. Miller lined a shot from 15 yards out towards the far post that was denied by a diving Kulla to her left.
Marquette had a look at the net came in the 86th minute on a blast from forward Lisa Philbin. Maegan Kelly played a ball back to Philbin on the right side where she sent a ball high of the crossbar.
The Mountaineers improve to 6-2 all-time against the Golden Eagles, including a 4-0 mark at Dick Dlesk. WVU has played well at home, sporting a 62-11-8 home record since Dick Dlesk opened in August 2004.
WVU wore pink Nike jerseys and presented a check at halftime for $12,650 to the Betty Puskar Breast Cancer Fund at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. The WVU women’s soccer team has raised more than $72,000 over the past eight years to help fight breast cancer.
Next up for WVU is a pair of home matches on Sept. 23 against Seton Hall and a Sept. 25 meeting with Rutgers, a match that will be televised on CBS Sports Network.