No. 13 WVU Routs Seton Hall
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 13-ranked West Virginia women’s soccer team opened BIG EAST Championship play with a convincing 5-0 rout of visiting Seton Hall in quarterfinal action Sunday afternoon at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
The Mountaineers raced out to a 2-0 lead after 22 minutes, and netted three more second half goals. It marked WVU’s highest output in the program’s 26 all-time BIG EAST tournament contests, surpassing three previous four-goal efforts.
“I’m very proud of the effort our ladies gave today,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, who has eight seasons of at least 15 wins at WVU. “I thought we pressured them hard the first 10 minutes and really played some good soccer that first half.”
West Virginia lit the scoreboard first by taking advantage of a Pirate turnover at midfield in the ninth minute. Midfielder Caroline Szwed played a ball out wide to forward Frances Silva. Silva sent a ball into the middle to forward Blake Miller who flicked it back to midfielder Bri Rodriguez at the top of the box. Rodriguez’s shot into the lower left corner bounced off the fingertips of a diving Jennifer Pettigrew for a 1-0 lead.
WVU doubled its lead at the 21:22 mark on Miller’s team-leading eighth goal of the season. The senior one-timed a ball from 12 yards out off a Seton Hall clearance. The play began as forward Kate Schwindel beat a defender on the left flank, sending a ball across the mouth of the goal that was volleyed at the back post by Silva, and cleared by a Pirate defender.
Miller would add a second assist on Emily Dillon’s goal to give her a four-point day – the third of her career. The score marked the 31st of Miller’s career – tying her with All-American Laura Kane for fifth all-time on WVU’s career goals list.
“Blake was simply awesome today,” said Izzo-Brown of Miller, who has scored a point in six straight matches. “She was really focused from the opening whistle and that is what we expect from her.”
WVU outshot Seton Hall 12-5 in the opening half and finished with a 21-12 advantage.
Seton Hall had one scoring try in the first half, a long range attempt from midfielder Taylor Wilson in the 25th minute. WVU goalkeeper Sara Keane moved quickly to her left to scoop up the shot at the right post.
The Pirates opened the second half strong before WVU settled in, leading to Szwed’s first goal of the season in the 66th minute. Defender Drea Barklage lined a header at the goal that was saved and deflected to the far side of the box where Szwed finished the opportunity to give West Virginia a 3-0 lead.
“Caroline works so hard and her numbers on the stat sheet don’t justify the work she does for us,” said Izzo-Brown. “I’m thrilled she was able to put away that scoring chance.”
West Virginia added two goals in the 77th minute to complete the scoring off the feet of Dillon and forward Kate Lenz.
Dillon put herself in position to tap in a short cross from Lenz, who drew Pettigrew off her line on the right side. The goal was Dillon’s fifth of the season which ties for third-most on the team.
Lenz scored the first goal of her career only 45 seconds later on a perfect cross from defender Bry McCarthy. McCarthy worked the ball into the left corner and sent a ball at the back post where Lenz out-muscled a defender and volleyed a shot past Pettigrew to make it 5-0.
“Lenz has been knocking on the door all season long and I’m glad she got one,” added Izzo-Brown. “She was able to get her thigh on it and put it in the back of the net.”
McCarthy’s assist was her seventh of the season and 14th of her career.
The Mountaineer defense picked up its 10th shutout of the season while holding the Pirates to only three shots on-goal. Keane made three saves in 80 minutes before Kristene Mumby worked the final 10 minutes to preserve the shutout.
Wilson led the Pirates with a game-high six shots.
West Virginia improved to 15-4-0, while Seton Hall moved to 9-8-3. The Mountaineers have won 13 of their last 14 matches, and are 8-1-2 in their last 11 conference tournament matches.
With the win, the Mountaineers advance to the BIG EAST semifinals for the seventh consecutive season. WVU will face Georgetown, the No. 2 seed in the National Division, on Friday, Nov. 4, at 5:30 p.m. at Dick Dlesk. The Hoyas defeated Syracuse, 3-1, today in Washington, D.C.
The other side of the championship bracket features National Division No. 1 seed Louisville and No. 3 seed Notre Dame. The teams will play in the first semifinal game on Friday at 3 p.m.
WVU, the defending BIG EAST champions, is hosting the conference tournament for the second time. All four teams in next weekend’s championship participated in the 2007 championship hosted by West Virginia.
All three matches will be broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network. In addition, the championship match will be produced by BIG EAST TV and will be available on numerous regional sports networks including SNY in the metro New York area.
Ticket prices are $5 for adults (19 & older) and $3 for youth (18 & younger). All BIG EAST students can attend for free with a valid student ID. Groups of 20 or more can purchase tickets in advance for $2 through the Mountaineer Ticket Office.
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