MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A game-winning goal from forward Kate Schwindel
in the 83rd minute pushed 20th-ranked West Virginia past visiting Western Carolina, 2-1, Sunday afternoon at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
“It was a good finish by Schwindel,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “That kid works so hard, and was knockin’ and knockin’ at the goal the whole (second) half.”
With the score tied at 1-1, forward Katie Utley tracked down a ball on the right side and sent a cross into the middle to Schwindel. The sophomore struck a ball off the right post and into the back of the net to make it 2-1 with under seven minutes to play.
The Mountaineers built a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute off the foot of Utley. The true freshman turned on a defender at the top of the box, her initial shot attempt blocked, then followed up by slotting a ball on the ground past goalkeeper Katie Jacobs from 15 yards out.
“It’s exciting,” said Utley of her first collegiate score. “I had a great ball played into me and just tried to get a good touch on it to get it past their goalkeeper.”
“You ask your forward to score goals and create scoring chances, and Utley did both today,” said Izzo-Brown. “Scoring that first one is always special, and it’s just the first of many she’ll put in the back of the net.”
Western Carolina was limited to only two shots in the opening half, its best scoring try coming when forward Laura Greb slipped behind the back line and WVU goalkeeper Sara Keane
came off her line. Greb touched the ball around Keane when a hustling Ali Connelly
stole the ball away to prevent a shot on an empty net.
The Catamounts made it a 1-1 game in the 69th minute on Markie Studnicky’s first goal of the season. The forward stepped in front of a WVU defender to create a one-on-one opportunity, sending a ball off the fingertips of Keane and into the goal.
Schwindel led all players with a career-high eight shots, and forced a lot of action in the second half. Schwindel had two good looks around the 50-minute mark, sending a ball just wide of the goal, followed up by a hard liner that forced Jacobs to her knees to make a stop.
Junior Frances Silva
nearly added a game-tying goal in the 77th minute on a diving header that drifted wide of the back post on a cross from Schwindel.
WVU finished with a 24-6 edge in shots, forcing Jacobs to make eight saves. Keane finished with three stops on six Catamount attempts.
West Virginia returns to action next weekend with a pair of matches at the Penn State Invitational. The Mountaineers will face Central Michigan on Aug. 24 and defending national champions Stanford on Aug. 26.