MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia’s bid at a second straight Top-10 upset fell short, dropping a 2-1 decision to No. 6 Penn State, in double overtime Friday evening at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in the WVU 90 Minute Classic.
An obstruction call at the top of the box with 82 second remaining, gave the Nittany Lions a free kick that was buried by All-American Christine Narin.
“Give Narin credit for hitting that ball, but that call was a bit of a shocker,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “You never want a game to end that way, especially when our ladies played so well. But we put this behind us and move on to Sunday’s game.”
A crowd of 2,057 took in the match – the most-ever for a regular season contest, and second largest crowd ever for a women’s soccer match.
“I can’t thank the fans enough for their effort tonight in showing up and being as loud as they were,” said Izzo-Brown. “We fed off their energy from the opening whistle, and I wish I could thank each and every person. Kudos to WVU women’s soccer fans tonight.”
Penn State, 4-1-0 on the season, escaped as the Mountaineer offense became dangerous in the final 35 minutes of the match. Sophomore forward Kate Schwindel
tied the game at 1-1 in the 85th minute, chipping a ball past goalkeeper Erin McNulty.
Midfielder Bri Rodriguez
and forward Kelsie Maloney
created scoring chances in the first overtime, each driving balls just high of the crossbar.
In the 55th minute, forward Tani Costa put Penn State on the board, finding the back of the net from six yards out on a pass into the middle from Kori Chapic.
West Virginia, 2-3-0 on the season, recorded eight corner kicks on the night and was called for only nine fouls. Penn State attempted six corner kicks and charted 16 fouls.
The match was delayed 25 minutes due to a Penn State injury with 11:34 remaining in the opening half. After a five-minute warm-up, the teams finished the half with no score.
The teams traded scoring opportunities during some back-and-forth action in the first 25 minutes, each team registering five shots.
Senior defender Mallory Smith
nearly put the Mountaineers up 1-0 in the 17th minute following on WVU’s second corner kick of the match. Smith’s header in the middle of the box rattled the left post for the near score.
Penn State opened the second half strong but WVU goalkeeper Sara Keane
kept the match scoreless in the 51st minute on a diving save to her left, denying a long range blast from Narin.
Less than a minute later, Narin outjumped a defender in the box, sending a header off the left post, only to be cleared by defender Leah Emaus
PSU finished with a slight 18-17 edge on shots, paced by Narin’s 10 attempts.
Schwindel took a team-best five shots for the Mountaineers.
Penn State evened the all-time series at 5-5-0 with its win tonight. Six of the last seven meeting have been one-goal margins.
Tournament action concludes at Dick Dlesk on Sunday, Sept. 2, as WVU battles Miami at noon, followed by No. 6 Penn State versus Pitt at 2:30 p.m.