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Hokies Prevail In NCAA First Round

By Tim Goodenow for
November 12, 2011 09:42 PM
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A strong first half and early goal was enough to push Virginia Tech past ninth-ranked West Virginia, 1-0, Saturday evening in the first round of the NCAA Championship at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

“I have to give Virginia Tech credit for being the team that finished their opportunity tonight,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “I thought we played a good 75 minutes of soccer, but against a team like Virginia Tech you need to play a full 90 minutes.”

Hokie midfielder Kelly Conheeney recorded the game’s only goal with her team-leading 11th score of the season in the 17th minute. Forward Anne Lumpkin chipped a ball over the back line where Conheeney brought it down in the box and beat goalkeeper Sara Keane for the game-winner.

The goal marked the first time WVU had trailed since Oct. 2 in a loss at Villanova.

Virginia Tech finished the half strong as the Mountaineers tried to adjust to the Hokies’ pace and speed of play.

WVU made its adjustments and had the better of play in the second half, including a hard press at the Hokie defense in the final 25 minutes. The Mountaineers took 11 of their team’s 14 shots in the final 36 minutes.

“We just ran out of time,” said Izzo-Brown. “Give me five more minutes with my team and I feel we would have put one away.”

Forward Frances Silva had WVU’s best scoring chance in the first half on a shot from eight yards out in the 10th minute that was denied by goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts. Silva had an open look but her attempt went right at Colpitts.

The Mountaineers had several looks in the second half, including a shot that went high of the goal by defender Erica Henderson from the heart of the box in the 63rd minute. Silva worked the ball into the right corner and found Henderson who hurried a shot with a defender on her.

With 13 minutes remaining, midfielder Bri Rodriguez nearly had an equalizer on a shot that went wide right from just inside the top of the box. Midfielder Caroline Szwed had her shot deflected back into the middle where Rodriguez couldn't fully connect on her attempt.

Forward Blake Miller had WVU’s final scoring chance with under four minutes to play on a header inside the box at the back post. Miller’s shot back across the goal was denied by a diving Colpitts.

“We just couldn’t connect on our scoring opportunities,” added Izzo-Brown. “At this time of year, you need to take advantage of those good looks.”

Miller attempted a game-high six shots for WVU, while Conheeney finished with five tries.

Keane played well off her line and finished with two saves, including a brilliant one-handed stop in the fourth minute on a shot by Conheeney.

WVU closed with a 14-13 edge in shots, while Virginia Tech took six more corner kicks (8-2) than the Mountaineers. The teams combined for 29 fouls and five yellow cards – the first three assessed to Tech.

West Virginia ends its season at 17-5-0, after winning BIG EAST division and tournament titles. The loss marked only the fourth first round exit in 12 NCAA Championship appearances.

The Hokies improve to 13-7-1 and resume NCAA action against third-seeded Texas A&M on Friday in Charlottesville, Va.

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