MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Two goals in the first 22 minutes were too much for the No. 10-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team to overcome, as the Mountaineers lost, 4-2, to Kentucky this afternoon at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
The Wildcats’ (6-1-1) Arin Gilliland scored 10 seconds into the game, and UK proceeded to score on each of its ensuing three shots on goal. The loss is the first at home this season for the Mountaineers (4-2-2) and snaps the team’s shut-out streak at Dick Dlesk in 2013 at three.
“Any time you get down a goal that quickly, it’s going to be about momentum, getting your head back, regrouping and moving forward,” says Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “I do think it’s definitely a momentum-type of feel that we needed to address. I thought the girls battled after that, but then we got punished again on the same mistake. Unfortunately, we can’t have mental errors. A team like Kentucky can finish those errors because they’re that good. That’s going to hurt us down the road. We need to make sure we clean up what we’re doing with the ball.”
Forwards Frances Silva
and Kate Schwindel
took eight shots each today, and while WVU owned a 21-7 shot advantage, the Mountaineer offense could not generate many good looks. WVU also earned a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks.
“I give a lot of credit to Kentucky – they have some dynamic players,” continues Izzo-Brown. “I think we beat ourselves up a lot today. When you play teams of this caliber, they’re going to punish you. Unfortunately, we decided to make some critical mistakes, and it cost us. I think we were our own worst enemy today.”
Gilliland was the story of the match, as she scored two goals and assisted on two more for six points. Goalkeeper Kayla King earned the win and made three saves. WVU senior Sara Keane
played all 90 minutes in the net for the Mountaineers.
Gilliland’s first goal followed an interception just outside the box. She took a blast at Keane that went right post.
The Wildcats built on their early lead in the 22nd minute. Gilliland fed the ball to a streaking Stuart Pope at the top of the box. Keane came out to about the 12-yard line to challenge, but Pope was able to put the ball over the Mountaineer keeper, and it trickled across the goal line.
With just five minutes left in the first half, Schwindel cut into the Wildcats’ lead. Sophomore forward Annalika Steyn
intercepted a UK pass and sent the ball toward Schwindel, who was positioned at the top of the box, and the junior from Livingston, N.J., took a low shot that sailed past King and toward the left corner. Schwindel’s goal was her team-best fifth of the season and the 20th of her career.
UK regained its two-goal advantage less than four minutes into the second half. After receiving the ball from Gilliland around the 18-yard line, Zoe Swift turned to face the net and went one-on-one with WVU’s Kadeisha Buchanan
. Buchanan lost control of her feet and went down, giving Swift a clear look at the goal. She sent a lofting shot toward the far goal post and out of Keane’s reach.
A penalty kick by Gilliland in the 65th minute extended the Wildcats’ lead to three. Then, with 16 seconds remaining in the match, WVU was awarded its own penalty kick and Silva converted, giving her five goals on the season and extending her scoring streak to eight matches. She has converted both of her penalty kicks this year.
The senior from Overland Park, Kan., now shows 28 career goals moving her into a tie with assistant coach Marisa Kanela (2002-05) for eighth place in the Mountaineer record book. She owns 70 career points and also ranks eighth on the all-time points list.
Prior to Silva’s penalty kick, sophomore forward Kelsie Maloney
had the Mountaineers’ best chance of the second half in the 74th minute, as she settled a lofting cross from Silva about three-yards out and headed the ball toward net. A scrum ensued, and King eventually came up with the ball.
Today’s loss is the first in the three-game series for WVU.
The Mountaineers stay at home next weekend and play host to Richmond on Friday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m., at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. WVU will then welcome Wright State on Sept. 22, at 1 p.m.