Mountaineers score three for second time this season
Published: Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 23:09
Finally, on its fourth try this season, the West Virginia women's soccer team proved it could win a game after being up 1-0 at halftime.
The Mountaineers (5-4-1, 1-1-1 Big East Conference) were dominant in a 3-0 victory over Pittsburgh Tuesday night at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
It was the team's first Big East victory of the season in its third game in five days, which included an overtime tie against South Florida Sunday. The game was rescheduled after the team's first meeting was postponed at halftime due to rain.
"This team showed a lot of character and worked hard and worked smart," said West Virginia head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. "I was really proud of how hard they worked for having that many miles on their legs."
The Mountaineers had several scoring chances in the game and controlled possession from the opening touch. They outshot Pitt 22-10 in the game.
In the 15th minute, defender Bry McCarthy took a free kick that landed on the head of midfielder Caroline Szwed in front of the net, but the sophomore missed the net.
Two minutes later, McCarthy got a second chance and didn't disappoint.
Midfielder Bri Rodriguez chipped a ball just outside the box past a Pitt defender, and the sophomore from Ontario got the ball on the left side, shooting a rocket past Pitt goalkeeper Morie Kephart for the early lead.
"This was a situation that we knew we needed to put this team away right from the get-go," Izzo-Brown said. "The first time we played them in 45 minutes, we weren't able to finish our opportunities. But, this was a very good Pitt team that we were able to put away."
The Mountaineers' second goal came 11 minutes into the second half, and it was a beauty from Rodriguez.
The sophomore volleyed the ball off a clear from the Pitt defense and shot the ball, curving it into the upper left corner of the net.
"Last year, I knew the ability that Bri had, and I think she was hesitant about her capabilities to finish," Izzo-Brown said. "I really think the confidence she has and how she goes to goal has really brought us to another level."
With the goal, Rodriguez has a team-leading four goals in 2010. She had three points in the victory over Pitt.
"That shows you right there that her mentality has changed and she is looking to get after the net," Izzo-Brown said.
Rodriguez felt Sunday's game against South Florida was one of her poorest performances of the season and made an effort to play her hardest against Pitt.
"I had to remember that bad games are going to happen," she said. "Tonight I just wanted to come out … and focus a little more and try to play a lot better and help my team out."
The Aurora, Ill., native also feels she has taken on more of a scorer's mentality this year, especially since getting the first goal of the season in the opener against Penn State.
"Now, I have a better balance," Rodriguez said. "I wouldn't say I was always goal first, but I know last year it was always pass first.
"This year I'm just looking for whatever is open instead of just looking to pass first."
Forward Blake Miller scored the final goal off a poor goal kick from the Pitt goalkeeper.
The junior settled the ball and ran straight at the net for a breakaway, shooting it past the goalkeeper to secure the win.
Goalkeeper Kerri Butler earned her 35th career shutout, needing three more to become the all-time shutouts leader in program history.