MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Despite heavy rain and chilly temperatures, the No. 19 West Virginia women’s soccer team scored a pair of second-half goals to defeat visiting Oklahoma, 2-0, Thursday evening at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
With no score after 45 minutes, the Mountaineer offense pressured the Sooners from the opening whistle of the second half. WVU outshot Oklahoma 12-2 in the period, scoring on goals from midfielder Amanda Hill
and forward Kate Schwindel
“I’m proud of the way we came out tonight, particularly in the second half,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “You could feel the pressure build and build, and it finally broke through with a nice goal from Amanda.”
West Virginia extended its unbeaten streak to 12 matches; its last loss coming on Aug. 31 to then No. 6 Penn State in double overtime.
Goalkeeper Sara Keane
was very good in net, finishing with four saves in picking up her seventh clean sheet of the season.
The Mountaineer defense eliminated several scoring tries, allowing only five shots on the night. OU entered the contest having been held scoreless only four times this season.
“It was a really solid team effort,” said Izzo-Brown. “From Mallory (Smith) in the back line, to Bri (Rodriguez) in the midfield, to Kailey (Utley) off the bench; we really got some strong play in all areas of the field tonight.”
Hill notched her second career goal in the 73rd minute on a shot that ricocheted off the gloves of goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire. Forward Frances Silva
created WVU’s seventh corner kick of the match, where defender Bry McCarthy
drove the ensuing kick toward the top of the box. Forward Kailey Utley
struck a ball at Devonshire who knocked the ball back into play, landing at the foot of Hill. Hill’s one-timer was sent hard past Devonshire for the game-winner.
“Amanda is a player that we count on to be bigger than a freshman,” said Izzo-Brown of her holding midfielder. “And that is what she’s doing for us.”
Eight minutes later, Schwindel recorded her ninth goal of the season at the 80:34 mark. The sophomore settled a clearance in the right-center of the field, taking a few touches into the middle before catching Devonshire off her line. Schwindel blasted a bending ball from 30 yards out that tucked under the left corner of the goal for a 2-0 lead.
Schwindel took a game-best six shots as WVU outshot OU 22-5 on the night. OU was paced by forward Renae Cuellar’s three attempts.
Cuellar created the Sooners’ best scoring chance of the night in the 19th minute. The senior beat two defenders in the middle of the field, firing a low liner at Keane who came up with her second save.
Rodriguez nearly lit the scoreboard in the 52nd minute after intercepting a poor clearance from an OU center back. Rodriguez settle the ball and lifted a shot that was deflected off a Sooner and just wide of the left post.
Schwindel took the following corner kick, finding Smith in middle of the box. Smith’s header was denied on a diving stop along a crowded goal line.
WVU improves to 6-0-1 in Big 12 Conference play, 10-3-4 overall. With three points earned tonight, the Mountaineers can be seeded no lower than No. 1 or 2 in the upcoming Big 12 Soccer Championship.
The loss moves Oklahoma to 2-3-2 in league play, 6-8-4 overall.
For the third-straight season, West Virginia finishes unbeaten at home in regular season conference play. WVU hasn't lost a home conference game since Oct. 2, 2009, an overtime loss to eighth-ranked Notre Dame.
The Mountaineers close out the regular season with a road trip to Texas, the Big 12’s second-place team, on Friday, Oct. 26.