PROVIDENCE. R.I. – Sophomore forward Frances Silva scored her first game-winner of the season in leading No. 20 West Virginia past Providence, 1-0, on a tough weather day at Glay Field Friday in Providence.
“It’s tough playing on the road and both teams had some sloppy conditions to deal with today,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “But I’m proud of the effort our ladies gave and we stayed focused on what we could control. We kept knocking and knocking, and it paid off when Frances finished a beauty."
In the 58th minute, Silva headed in a pass from eight yards out on a service into the middle from forward Blake Miller. Midfielder Bri Rodriguez set the play up with a nifty combination to Miller on the left flank.
The goal was the fifth of the season for Silva and second against the Friars. The Overland Park, Kan., native also scored the game-winner in WVU’s 2-1 win in Morgantown last season.
Forward Emily Dillon got into the mix in the 78th minute after a Friar defender cleared the ball on a Mountaineer corner kick. Dillon settled the ball and fired a long blast that sailed just high of the goal.
The Mountaineers started fast from the opening whistle and held possession in its offensive third for the majority of the opening half. WVU built a 9-1 shot advantage after 45 minutes.
In the 22nd minute, forward Kate Schwindel drove a ball towards the far post from 22 yards out that forced PC goalkeeper Caitlin Walker to make a diving save. Walker pushed the ball over the crossbar for WVU’s fourth corner kick of the match.
West Virginia’s defense picked up its eighth shutout of the season while holding Providence to only four shots on the afternoon. PC did not attempt a shot until the game’s 42 minute.
“The defense was great today, and were smart about keeping their bodies behind the ball,” said Silva. “You never know what is going to happen when the ball skips or dies in puddle. The fact that they can get a shutout in this kind of weather, it’s big for them."
Schwindel attempted five of WVU’s 13 shots, and nearly scored on a shot off the post in the 68th minute. Miller sent a through ball up the middle where Schwindel dribbled around Walker, forcing a tough shot from the left end line.
Providence’s lone scoring chance came late in the match on a shot from Mary Vercollone. PC sent a ball across the box that went untouched until Vercollone’s attempt on the back side went wide of the goal.
West Virginia moves to 12-4-0 on the season, including an 8-1-0 mark in BIG EAST play.
Providence dips to 5-8-4 overall, 3-6-0 in league matches.
West Virginia improves 12-1-0 all-time against Providence, including a 7-0-0 mark on the road.
The Mountaineers return to action against Connecticut on Sunday, Oct. 16. Kickoff at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium is slated for 1 p.m.