NIKKI IZZO-BROWN VIDEO
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Goals from forwards Blake Miller and Frances Silva, and a stout defensive effort, guided No. 11 West Virginia past Louisville, 2-0, in front of 1,550 fans at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in the finals of the BIG EAST Women’s Soccer Championship. The Mountaineers won their second consecutive title and third in the last five years.
WVU, winners of eight straight matches, also earned the league’s automatic berth into the 64-team Division I NCAA Championship.
“Special teams do special things, and it takes a special team to win back-to-back championships in this league,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “You’ll never be disappointed by the hard work these women put on the field.”
Miller knocked home a penalty kick in the 28th minute to open the scoring. Forward Kate Schwindel, recently named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, was taken down inside the box on a through ball from midfielder Bri Rodriguez to earn the penalty try for WVU.
“It was a heck of a pass from Rod to Schwindel, who has been playing so well,” said Izzo-Brown of the game-winning goal. “Then Blake stepped up and buried it.”
Miller, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player, has scored a goal in four of the last five matches and has recorded a point in eight straight contests.
Trailing 1-0, Louisville opened the second half by creating two quick corner kicks. Katie Walz sent a header at the crossbar that was snagged out of the air by WVU goalkeeper Sara Keane.
Two minutes later, Silva punched in a beautiful cross from junior defender Bry McCarthy who had pushed forward into the attack on the left flank. Silva positioned herself inside a Cardinal defender for her eighth goal of the year to give the Mountaineers a 2-0 advantage.
Louisville’s best look of the second half came off the foot of midfielder Jennifer Jones on a shot in transition. Jones received a pass just outside the top of the box, took touches and fired a shot from 16 yards out that was denied by a diving Keane in front of the net.
Miller nearly added to WVU’s lead in the 75th minute by creating a shot from just outside the top of the box. She drove a ball toward the right post that drifted wide of the goal.
The Mountaineer defense picked up their 11th shutout of the season, while also holding Louisville’s Christine Exeter, the 2011 BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year, to only one shot. It also marked the first time the Cardinals have been shutout since their 1-0 loss versus then-No. 10 Marquette on Sept. 30.
“The whole back five, plus Keane, were outstanding today,” said Izzo-Brown. “We have so much respect for Exeter, and to limit her to one shot, is a remarkable effort by our ladies.”
West Virginia (17-4-0) outshot Louisville (12-6-3), the BIG EAST National Division champions, 14-12, led by Miller’s seven shots.
Midfielders Erin Yenney and Nicole Mitchell each attempted three shots to pace the Cardinals.
Louisville goalkeeper Chloe Kiefer made one save.
McCarthy was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player, while three others were named to the all-tournament squad with Miller and McCarthy: Keane, Schwindel and Silva.
The Mountaineers won their sixth straight BIG EAST Championship match. Their last loss in the league tournament came in the semifinals of the 2009 Championship.BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament Team
Ingrid Wells, Georgetown
Melissa Henderson, Notre Dame
Christine Exeter, Louisville
Chelsea Hunter, Louisville
Jennifer Jones, Louisville
Katie McDonald, Louisville
Sara Keane, West Virginia
Bry McCarthy, West Virginia
Blake Miller, West Virginia
Kate Schwindel, West Virginia
Frances Silva, West VirginiaBIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Offensive Player
Blake Miller, West VirginiaBIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Defensive Player
Bry McCarthy, West Virginia
Leave the team a congratulatory message by going to the WVU Women’s Soccer Facebook