STILLWATER, Okla. – The No. 18-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team opened its Big 12 Conference season in style, defeating Oklahoma State 2-1 this evening at the Cowgirl Soccer Complex.
WVU, the reigning Big 12 Conference regular-season champions, won its conference opener for the third straight season. The Mountaineers have never lost a Big 12 regular-season match.
“This is a huge result on the road for us,” says Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “We knew it was going to be a tough battle for us to walk out with a win. We beat a great OSU team.”
The Mountaineers (7-2-2, 1-0 Big 12) earned their first Big 12 win of the season in dominating fashion, outshooting the Cowgirls (4-3-3, 0-1 Big 12) 21-5. WVU placed six shots on goal and earned an 8-1 advantage in corner kicks.
WVU built a 2-0 lead that it would hold on to, despite a late surge from the OSU offense. The Cowgirls’ lone goal came in the 87th minute, as Courtney Dike connected on a penalty kick. The shot on-goal was only OSU’s second of the game.
Junior forward Kate Schwindel
broke the scoreless play in the 42nd minute, connecting on her third shot on-goal to give the Mountaineers the early lead. The Livingston, N.J., native took matters into her own hands on the score, carrying the ball to about 12-yards out then sending a low shot toward the left corner. The goal was a team-best seventh of the season for Schwindel. Junior defender Jess Crowder
earned the assist, her third of the season.
Schwindel’s goal was a long time coming, as she tallied five shots, including three on-goal, in the first period. She nearly put the Mountaineers on the board in the 19th minute, as she took a point-blank shot on OSU’s Michela Ongaro from about three-yards out, but the Cowgirls’ keeper came up with the save. Four minutes later, she took a low shot at a diving Ongaro, but she was denied again.
“The game of soccer is about putting the ball in the back of the net,” says Izzo-Brown. “At the end of the day, we were dominating statistically, but this game depends on who finishes. Kate created so many opportunities in the first half. I thought we kept the momentum moving throughout the half, but we just didn’t get the result we deserved. That goal from Kate was what we needed.”
Tonight was the ninth time this season WVU has scored first. The Mountaineers improved to 7-0-2 when scoring first in 2013.
The Mountaineers’ backline helped keep the pressure off senior goalkeeper Sara Keane
in the first half, and OSU only tallied two shots and one corner in the first 45.
Sophomore forward Kelsie Maloney
solidified the win in the 72nd minute, heading in a cross from Schwindel into the lower left corner. The goal, the fourth of the season for the Harrisburg, Pa., native, is her second in two weeks, as she also scored against Richmond last Friday night. Sophomore forward Annalika Steyn
started the scoring play, as she dropped a pass to Schwindel far into the right corner.
Keane earned her only save of the night in the 82nd minute, as she gobbled up a low shot from Madison Mercado near the right post.
With the win, WVU improves to 2-0 over OSU.
The Mountaineers stay on the road and make their first trip to Waco, Texas, on Sunday, Sept. 29, for a 1:05 p.m. ET match at No. 11 Baylor at Betty Lou Mays Field. The Bears (8-0-2, 1-0 Big 12) opened conference play with a 1-0 win over Oklahoma this evening.
“We know going on the road is about getting results,” explains Izzo-Brown. “Baylor is the 11th-ranked team in the country, and they haven’t allowed a goal at home this season. We know we have to hit on every cylinder to be successful in Waco.”
Sunday’s match will be carried by FSN Plus. Fans in Morgantown with DirectTV can watch the game on channel 677. Fans with Comcast can watch the game live on channel 172. A replay will be shown at 3 p.m. on channel 171.