Miller’s goal in 54th minute advances women’s soccer into Big East Semifinals
Published: Monday, November 1, 2010
Updated: Monday, November 1, 2010 00:11
One goal was all the West Virginia women's soccer team needed to beat Rutgers 1-0 and advance to the semifinals of the Big East Conference Tournament.
The Mountaineers now have 14 wins on the season and improved their winning streak to 10 games, a new program record. WVU now travels to Piscataway, N.J., for the Big East Semifinals to face Connecticut Friday at 5 p.m.
"When it gets tournament time, things are tight," said WVU head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. "But that's going to come down to one or two finishes, and that's what we did."
Both teams played a tough first half defensively, as there were only a combined three shots on goal.
However, WVU ignited the crowd just nine minutes into the second half. Midfielder Bri Rodriguez made a long run down the middle of the field, dribbled past several Rutgers defenders and lobbed a pass to Frances Silva on the right side of the box.
The freshman settled the ball and crossed it over the other side, where Blake Miller was standing wide open for an easy header to score what the eventual game-winning goal.
The goal was Miller's 10th of the season.
"I knew (the goal) was going to work because we had two runners going near post, so they pulled both the defenders, and I had no one on me back post," Miller said. "I don't think the goalie even knew I was there. The hole was open, so when I saw the ball was coming, I was like ‘I have this one. This one is in.'"
The Mountaineer defense stepped up as they continuously have been on the team's 10-game win streak, allowing just four shots on goal in the game. Rutgers struggled to get solid scoring chances in WVU's final third of the field.
Its best chance came with just under 30 minutes remaining. An RU player shot the ball from 25 yards out, forcing goalkeeper Kerri Butler to make a jumping save, sending the ball over the crossbar.
"Our team did a great job of adjusting at halftime, making some adjustments and finding a way to finish," Izzo-Brown said. "We knew a shutout was going to happen. Everybody was defending, but our back line was great today. We know it has to be tight, and we know how hard it is to score goals in this conference, so we had to shut them out."
Four different Mountaineer players had a shot, and Miller and Rodriguez led the team with one shot on target, each. Miller's goal was her fifth in as many games played.