|Sophomore defender Kadeisha Buchanan battled PSU for the ball all night. She tallied WVU's first score of 2014 in the 72nd minute.
Steve Prunty Photo
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Three first-half goals proved to be too much for the No. 10-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team, as the Mountaineers fell 3-1 to No. 11 Penn State in their 2014 season opener tonight, at Jeffrey Field, in WVU’s first of two matches at the Penn State Invitational.
The loss drops the Mountaineers to 8-9-2 in all-time season openers. Tonight was the third time the two teams have met in an opener since 2010, and the Nittany Lions now own a 6-5-1 edge in the all-time series.
“This was a team of two halves tonight,” said Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “We looked completely different in the second half. We finally put it together, but we ran out of time, and you can’t do that against a team like Penn State.”
The Mountaineers (0-1) struggled to generate offense against the Nittany Lions (1-0), tallying three shots to PSU’s nine. WVU did earn a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks. Both teams played chippy this evening, with 22 fouls called, including a yellow card on PSU’s Mallory Weber.
WVU junior transfer Hannah Steadman
made one save in her first action as a Mountaineer. PSU’s Britt Eckerstrom also finished with one save.
Facing a three-goal deficit, the Mountaineers tallied their first score of 2014 in the 72nd minute, as sophomore defender Kadeisha Buchanan
got a soft touch off her right foot about eight-yards out. The score followed a WVU corner kick, with junior forward Kelsie Maloney
earning the assist.
The Mountaineers nearly cut their deficit to one goal in the 86th minute. Maloney fed the ball up the sideline to a streaking Kate Schwindel
. Eckerstrom came out of the net to meet the senior forward but whiffed, giving Schwindel an open look. She sent the ball toward the net, but it skimmed the entire goal line before going just wide.
The Nittany Lions snagged a lead they would not relinquish in the 13th minute. Buchanan went low to clear a cross from PSU’s Emily Hurd, but the ball slipped pass to Frannie Crouse, who turned into a clear look at the goal and put her low shot far post.
PSU earned a penalty kick five minutes later, with a late whistle on junior midfielder Cari Price
giving the Nittany Lions the free chance, but midfielder Raquel Rodriguez’s shot went far right of the goal.
Play off a corner kick allowed the Nittany Lions to pad their lead in the 20th minute. Packed within the goal box, PSU’s Emily Ogle fed Kori Chapic the ball, and the midfielder was able to beat Steadman with a low header for the second goal.
With just over one minute left in the half, PSU made good on its second penalty kick, as Ogle put her shot high toward the far post, out of the reach of Steadman. WVU freshman defender Michaela Abam
was whistled for the foul. The Houston native tangled with PSU’s Schafer at the top of the box before both hit the ground.
Steadman earned her first save in a Mountaineer uniform 22 seconds into the match, as she came out to challenge a quick look from Hurd and blocked the shot with both hands.
Schwindel tallied the Mountaineers’ lone shot on-goal of the half just one minute later, taking a shot from 16-yards out that was stopped by Eckerstrom.
Sophomore Ashley Lawrence
had a great look in the 27th minute, taking a blast from 20-yards out off a pass from junior Amanda Hill
, but it went just right of the net.
Tonight’s contest was played in clear, humid weather. Kickoff was moved up two and a half hours due to the threat of inclement weather.
In addition to Steadman, junior defender Maggie Bedillion
also earned her first career start.
The Mountaineers return to Jeffrey Field on Sunday, Aug. 24, for a noon meeting with Missouri. It is the first-ever contest between the two squads. The Tigers played to a 0-0 draw against Syracuse tonight on the PSU practice field.