KANSAS CITY, Mo.
– Senior forward Frances Silva
scored two goals in front of a hometown crowd and pushed the No. 15-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team to a 3-0 victory over Kansas this evening in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Soccer Championship at Swope Soccer Village.
The win is the first-ever for the top-seeded Mountaineers (14-3-2, 7-1 Big 12) in a Big 12 postseason match. Tonight marks the sixth time in 2013 that WVU has tallied three or more goals in a match, and the Mountaineers, the reigning two-time defending Big 12 Conference regular-season champions, move to 13-0-2 when scoring two or more goals in a match this year.
With tonight’s victory, WVU is now one victory short of program win 250.
“We had the opportunity to regroup and refocus on this important part of our season, and once again the team was resilient tonight, and I’m really proud of the performance they had,” says Big 12 Coach of the Year Nikki Izzo-Brown.
Tonight is the second time this season, and the sixth time of her career, Silva, an Overland Park, Kan., native, has tallied two goals. The Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year, Silva’s 2013 goal total now stands at 14, and she shows 37 for her career.
“I think Frances has lived up to her award with the leadership she brings to this team,” says Izzo-Brown. “For Frances to have this type in of performance in front of her whole family and in her hometown was awesome. I was really excited that Frances was able to step up for us.”
Senior goalkeeper Sara Keane
was largely unchallenged in her seventh shutout of the season, as the Jayhawks (7-11-2, 2-5-1 Big 12) were held to seven shots and were unable to place any on goal. Tonight’s shutout is the 24th career unblemished slate for Keane.
“Everybody had the right mentality tonight and was focused,” Izzo-Brown continues. “It was really important that we got that clean sheet. I’m really proud of the effort everyone put forth to get this victory.”
KU goalie Kaitlyn Stroud made eight saves in the losing effort, including five in the first half.
The Mountaineers outshot the Jayhawks 20-7, and placed 11 shots on-goal. WVU also earned a 10-2 advantage on corners.
Silva’s first goal was nothing short of perfect, as she took a free kick from just outside the box after KU fouled her in the 18th minute and placed her shot neatly toward the high far corner, out of the reach of Stroud.
Silva tallied her Big 12-best 14th goal of the season just eight minutes later. Taken down in the box by Aurelie Gagnet, she connected on her third penalty kick of the season, placing her shot almost exactly where she placed her first goal, beating Stroud with a shot to the high near corner. She is now three-for-three on penalty kicks this season.
Silva’s 14 goals this year is one short of the WVU senior-season record. Additionally, her 41 points (14 G, 13 A) is a single-season program record for a senior. She is six points away from tying the program record of 47 (Chrissie Abbott, 2002).
A pair of freshmen connected for WVU’s third goal in the 56th minute, as midfielder Ashley Lawrence
fed midfielder Tessa Broadwater
a ball in the middle of the box, and the Midlothian, Va., native, making her first career start, turned and took a shot from 13-yards out and placed the ball in the far corner.
The goal was the second of the season for Broadwater, while the assist, the only assist for WVU tonight, was the fourth of the year for Lawrence.
Lawrence had two good looks for her own goals in the first half. In the 12th minute, redshirt-freshman defender Carly Black
fought to keep the Mountaineers’ first corner of the match in play, heading the ball to the front of the net and finding the Toronto, Ontario, native’s foot. Lawrence took a low shot from three-yards out, but Stroud was there to stop the opportunity. Then, in the 37th minute, Lawrence beat two KU defenders a step outside of the box and took a shot from 16-yards out that Stroud deflected away. She finished with five shots tonight, while Silva took a match-best six.
The Mountaineers advance to the Big 12 Soccer Championship semifinals and will meet No. 5-seed Baylor, the defending tournament champions, on Friday, Nov. 8, at 6:30 p.m. ET. WVU earned a 4-3 victory over the then-No. 9-ranked Bears in Waco, Texas, on Sept. 29.