DURHAM, N.C. – The No. 9-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team suffered its first loss of the 2013 season, losing 4-2 this afternoon to No. 1 North Carolina, at Koskinen Stadium in the Duke Nike Classic.
The Mountaineers (3-1-2) were a team of two halves, as they made every attempt to overcome a four-goal deficit in their first-ever meeting with the Tar Heels (6-0), but two scores in the second 45 minutes were not enough.
“We know leaving this game that North Carolina put pressure on us to make mistakes,” says Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “I give them all the credit, but they were mistakes we know we can correct. Putting two goals on the board in the second half definitely showed the character and ability of this team.”
WVU is the first nonconference opponent to score two goals against the Tar Heels (6-0) in a regular-season contest since UNC lost, 4-3, in overtime to Texas A&M on Sept. 11, 2011. Entering today’s game, UNC, the defending national champions, had only allowed one goal all season (New Mexico, Aug. 30).
“To put two goals on the No. 1-ranked team in the country says something about these Mountaineers,” Izzo-Brown continues. “We took the No. 12 team (Duke) to double-overtime on Friday night, and then came out here today and were expected to beat the No. 1 team. For the girls to fight the way they did, I’m pretty proud of them. There are no moral victories, though, and we need to turn it around this week and get ready for next Friday.”
The Tar Heels are the first opponent to score at least three goals against the Mountaineers since WVU lost 4-1 at Villanova on Oct. 2, 2011. Today was the first time in 2013 the Mountaineers have not scored first, and only the second time WVU has given up more than one goal in a contest.
UNC owned a 19-3 shot advantage and a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks. WVU senior Sara Keane
faced nine shots and made five saves, while UNC keeper Bryane Heaberlin earned the win; WVU failed to put a shot on goal in the first half.
After four unanswered goals, senior forward Frances Silva
netted WVU’s first goal of the game, as the Overland Park, Kan., native made good on a penalty kick in the 59th minute. Taken down in the penalty box, Silva put a low shot past UNC keeper Anna Sieloff, between the posts in the second half only.
Silva’s goal is her team-best fourth of the season and the 26th of her career, the ninth-best mark in program history. Not only has she tallied a goal in the last three straight games, she’s also scored at least one point every time the Mountaineers have taken to the pitch this year.
Playing with a sense of urgency, junior forward Kate Schwindel
gave the Mountaineers their second goal less than three minutes later, using momentum to turn her shot from 10-yards out toward the left corner of the net. Silva earned the immediate assist on the goal, as she settled a cross from sophomore forward Kelsie Maloney
in the box.
The goal was the third of the season for Schwindel and her first since Aug. 30. She now owns 18 career goals.
Kealia Ohai put the Tar Heels on the board first in the eighth minute. Keane came out on an angle to challenge the UNC forward, as she got a breaking ball up the left side, but Ohai sent the shot toward the right post and past the Mountaineer keeper.
Crystal Dunn, the 2012 National Player of the Year, pushed UNC’s lead to 2-0 in the 17th minute, taking a low shot from 12-yards out and putting it past a diving Keane in the left corner.
UNC’s third goal came off a free kick with 63 seconds remaining in the first half. Following a caution on WVU defender Jess Crowder
, Joanna Boyles took the free opportunity herself and sent a bending shot toward the top of the left post and out of Keane’s reach.
The Mountaineers’ best chance in the first half came off the foot of Schwindel, as she received a ball from midfielder Ashley Lawrence
about 12-yards out and took a shot at the left goalpost that went just wide.
Summer Green put the fourth goal in the net for UNC, as she was awarded a penalty kick two minutes into the second half and sent the ball low to the left post.
The Mountaineers return to Morgantown next weekend for a two-week home stand. WVU plays host to Eastern Kentucky on Friday, Sept. 13, at 5:30 p.m., at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.