MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 11-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team suffered a 2-0 loss to No. 21 Duke, tonight, in its home season opener at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium, in front of 2,045 fans.
“The one thing I talk to this team a lot about is getting better every chance we can,” said Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “We didn’t get the win, but we did some things better, and now we just have to piece it all together.”
Tonight’s match, played in front of the program’s third-largest crowd at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium, featured a Mountaineer (1-2) team that controlled the stat line, outshooting the Blue Devils (1-2), 18-12, and earning 10 corner kicks to Duke’s two. The teams each tallied five shots on-goal, with Duke’s Ali Kershner earning the shutout; junior Hannah Steadman
tallied three saves in her third start with the Mountaineers.
“This was a great crowd tonight, and we really appreciate you all coming out and cheering us on,” Izzo-Brown continued. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t pull out the win. Stay patient – this team is going to come together.
“We are playing good soccer. We have to fully come together as a team, and I know we will because I work with these student-athletes every day. Unfortunately, there’s no moral victory – it’s all about wins and losses. We got a little bit better tonight, and we learned some lessons, too.”
The Mountaineers put pressure on the Blue Devils all evening, most especially early in the second half. WVU earned two corner kicks in the span of 30 seconds in the 47th minute and had a flurry of chances that resulted in three shots, including a header from Lawrence that was blocked. Sophomore defender Kadeisha Buchanan
got to the ball after the block and sent a diving shot wide.
Utley had a fantastic look at the net in the in the 77th minute. After settling a ball from freshman midfielder Carla Portillo
, Utley turned and took a low shot from 16-yards out that just missed the far left post before dribbling out of bounds.
The Blue Devils first got on the board in the 22nd minute. Defender Christina Gibbons played a through ball to forward Imani Dorsey, who chipped the ball past a challenging Steadman and toward the far right post. It was the team’s first goal of the season.
Duke padded its lead in the 50th minute. Payne brought the ball up the left side of the field, slipped past the WVU defense, and took a shot from 10-yards out that bent around Steadman and went far right post.
Tonight’s loss is WVU’s first in the series with the Blue Devils. The squad’s played to a 1-1 draw in Durham, North Carolina, in 2013, their first-ever meeting.
The Mountaineers return to Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium Sunday for a meeting with Elon at 1 p.m. Tickets for Sunday’s match are $5 for adults, and just $3 for youth and seniors. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets for $2 each. Additionally, fans can print a coupon for one free popcorn at the concession stand on the team’s Twitter (@WVUWomensSoccer) and Facebook (/WVUWomensSoccer) pages.