No. 21 W. Soccer Cruises Over Richmond

  • By Shannon McNamara and Jon Hevron
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  • September 20, 2013 10:19 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 21-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team used two second-half goals to power to a 2-0 win over Richmond, tonight, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

The Mountaineers’ (5-2-2) scores were a result of perseverance, as WVU battled through 63 minutes of scoreless play before finally finding the back of the net.

“The one thing that you don’t want to start happening is frustration,” explains Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “I told the team at half that goals aren’t just going to happen – they’re going to have to make them happen. A lot of the morale of our halftime talk centered around grinding it out. The tactical part came when we decided we had to go around or behind them if Richmond was going to keep it in front of us. We had to find the goals that way.”

Sophomore forward Kelsie Maloney broke the draw in the 63rd minute, as the Harrisburg, Pa., native headed in a perfect serve from three-yards out. Senior forward Frances Silva made a run to the end line to the right of the Richmond (2-5-2) goal before sending a cross into Maloney.

“Everyone could feel it – there was relief,” Izzo-Brown says of the goal. “I turned around and made sure that it went it, because there were so many that didn’t before that one. We just couldn’t find the back of the net, but the girls figured it out.”

The goal was the third of the season for Maloney and her second game winner. With the assist, Silva extended her season scoring streak to nine matches. She now owns a team-best 16 points.

The Mountaineers dominated the Spiders offensively, registering 22 shots and 13 corner kicks. WVU’s defense negated the Spiders’ attack in the first half, and Richmond finished the game with four shots, all in the second 45, and zero corners.

The shutout was the fourth of the season for senior Sara Keane and the 21st of her career; she continues to rank No. 4 in the Mountaineer record book.

The Spiders’ Emily Kelly made four saves and suffered the loss in goal.

“Any time you have to play a game when a team is restraining, you have to find different ways to create chances, and that’s what we had to do,” says Izzo-Brown. “I thought our backline did a really good job preventing any good shots. It was a solid performance, definitely.”

Freshman midfielder Ashley Lawrence solidified the Mountaineers’ fourth win at home 14 minutes after Maloney’s score, as she received a pass from sophomore midfielder Amanda Hill in the middle of the field, about 18-yards out, and found the back of the net for her second career goal. Junior defender Jess Crowder got the scoring play started and earned her second assist of the season.

Lawrence was hot early, and the Toronto, Ontario, native ripped off the first shot of the game in the fifth minute. Her chance was nullified by a block from a Richmond defender.

Three minutes later, Lawrence created the Mountaineers’ first true scoring chance on a breakaway. She was greeted at the top of the six-yard box by Kelly, who stopped the shot.

The remainder of the half played like a ping-pong match, with neither team gaining much ground. Though the Mountaineers tallied 10 shots and six corners in the first 45, the Spiders forced the ball out front, and the WVU attack could not penetrate.

Tonight’s win gives WVU a 2-1-1 advantage in the all-time series.

The Mountaineers return to the pitch this Sunday and welcome Wright State at 1 p.m. Fans are invited to take a picture with the Big 12 regular-season championship trophy in the stadium concourse throughout the day. Additionally, weather permitting, the Mountaineers will host a free soccer clinic for kids 13 and under at Dreamswork Field following the game. The clinic will be 45 minutes long and will feature instruction from the WVU coaches and players. Participants must sign up before halftime, and players should bring a ball, cleats and shin guards. Free giveaways and pizza, courtesy of Papa John’s, will be provided.