MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 6-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team used two first-half goals to defeat Kansas, 2-0, this evening in its home regular-season finale at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
The Mountaineers (12-2-2, 6-0 Big 12) made quick work of the Jayhawks (6-7-2, 0-3-1 Big 12), scoring two goals in the first 14 minutes. In their final career regular-season match in Morgantown, senior Frances Silva
tallied her team-best 11th goal, while classmate Sara Keane
made two saves in her sixth shutout of the year.
“It’s always important to get out early and put pressure on a great team like Kansas,” says Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “For us to go out there and put two scores on them early really says a lot about the girls and what this team wanted to accomplish tonight.
“Tonight was so awesome for me because Frances got a goal and an assist, and Sara earned the shutout – you couldn’t write the story any better.”
The victory pushes the Mountaineers’ win streak to eight matches. Including its six conference wins this season, WVU’s all-time Big 12 Conference record now stands 13-0-1. With a 4-0 record against Big 12 opponents at Dick Dlesk Stadium this season, the Mountaineers have not dropped a match to a conference opponent in Morgantown since losing 3-2 in overtime to then-No. 8 Notre Dame on Oct. 2, 2009.
Sophomore forward Kelsie Maloney
netted her Big 12-best fourth game-winning goal of the season in the 10th minute, giving WVU an early lead it would never relinquish. Silva carried the ball to the top of the box and played it through the KU defense to Maloney, who made a move on her defender and put her shot past KU’s Kaitlyn Stroud from seven yards out.
The goal was the sixth of the season for the Harrisburg, Pa., native, while the assist was a team-best 12th for Silva. She is now tied with associate head coach Lisa Stoia (2003) and Kim Bonilla (2006) for the all-time WVU single-season record.
“You can’t take anything away from all three of our forwards, because they each bring something different to the field,” explains Izzo-Brown. “There’s a lot of attention placed on Frances and (Kate) Schwindel, but you have to worry about Kelsie Maloney
Silva tallied the insurance goal four minutes later, dribbling the ball up the field through multiple KU defenders before sending a shot past Stroud from 15 yards away. Sophomore defender Cari Price
gave the scoring play a chance, winning a 50-50 ball at midfield and directing her header toward Silva.
“Frances is doing what she needs to do to get wins, and I think she did that tonight,” says Izzo-Brown.
Silva’s 11 goals match her season output from 2012, the 10th-best single-season effort in program history. Her 34 points (11 G, 12 A) this season rank No. 5 all-time. Silva, an Overland Park, Kan., native now shows 34 career goals and moves into a fourth-place tie with Ashley Banks (2004-07) in the Mountaineer record book.
Keane earned a clean sheet for the second straight Friday, as she also blanked Iowa State on Oct. 11 in the Mountaineers’ 2-0 victory over the Cyclones. The Mt. Laurel, N.J., native made one save in each half for her 23rd career shutout. She continues to rank No. 4 all-time in the Mountaineer record book.
Stroud made five saves in the losing effort, with four coming in the first 45 minutes.
WVU earned a 15-6 shot advantage tonight, with junior forward Kate Schwindel
tallying a game-high eight, including four on-goal. The Mountaineers earned four corner kicks to the Jayhawks’ two.
WVU nearly secured a three-goal lead in the 68th minute off the head of sophomore defender Leah Emaus
. The Webster, N.Y., native’s initial shot was blocked by a KU defender, but the rebound ricocheted right back to her, which she headed to Maloney, who snuck behind the Jayhawks’ backline. Stroud thwarted the scoring chance, meeting the ball outside the goal-box and halting the play.
Silva and Schwindel had a chance to give the Mountaineers the advantage in the fourth minute, as Silva played a ball over the heads of the KU defense to a streaking Schwindel. The Livingston, N.J., native beat her defender one-on-one and took a shot at Stroud, who dove left and deflected the ball wide.
KU’s best chance in the first period came with less than 90 ticks on the clock, as midfielder Jamie Fletcher received the ball uncovered 22-yards out and took a shot that hit the upper post.
With the win, WVU improves to 2-0 all-time against KU.
Of note, tonight was Senior Night, and Kara Blosser
, Caroline Szwed
, Keane and Silva were honored prior to the first kick.
The Mountaineers close out their regular season on the road next weekend. WVU will play at Oklahoma on Friday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m. ET, before traveling to Texas Tech for a 7 p.m. ET match on Oct. 27.