West Virginia clinches Big East bye with weekend wins
Miller continues to shine in victories over Villanova, Georgetown
Published: Sunday, October 17, 2010
Updated: Sunday, October 17, 2010 22:10
It's been nearly a month since the West Virginia women's soccer team dropped a contest.
The Mountaineers (11-4-1, 7-1-1 Big East Conference) continued their strong play this weekend, beating Villanova 4-3 in overtime Friday. West Virginia continued its winning streak, beating Georgetown Sunday.
With the wins, the Mountaineers secured a first-round bye in the 2010 Big East Championship and can finish no lower than second in the conference's American Division.
"Our approach for Sunday's game was totally different from what we needed on Friday," said WVU head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. "Credit the ladies. They were focused, and they really wanted this game."
The Mountaineers took the lead Sunday when freshman Frances Silva crossed the ball into the box with 9:23 remaining in the first half. The ball connected with forward Blake Miller's head, who got the go-ahead goal.
"A lot of our team, after battling against Villanova, didn't want to do that again," Silva said. "We wanted to get the lead and hold onto it. It was good to get ahead early, so we knew we could beat that team."
The freshman's success continued, as Silva netted her second career goal for the Mountaineers with 3:15 remaining in the match. Silva took the ball from the top of the box and netted the 16-yard shot to build the team's lead.
Less than a minute later, Miller added her second goal of the day. After a missed clear by Georgetown goalkeeper Jackie Desjardin, Miller took advantage of the turnover and put the game away for the Mountaineers.
The team struggled early Friday night against Villanova, going down 3-1 into the second half. In the 66th minute, Mountaineer defender Erica Henderson took advantage of a rebound off a shot from defender Bry McCarthy and netted the tying goal from 6 yards out.
West Virginia continued to battle into overtime for the third-consecutive match, but it wasn't long before midfielder Bri Rodriguez scored the game-winner in the 95th minute to secure the Mountaineers' victory.
With only two games remaining in the regular season, the team is starting to think about its postseason fate. With RPI rankings being released Tuesday, the Mountaineers will have a better idea of potential postseason seeding.
For now, Silva said the team is focused on putting itself in the best possible position for the postseason.
"We have some quality wins, but we can't become complacent," Silva said. "We have a good chance of getting in (the NCAA Tournament), but it's more important than just that for us. It's about getting a good seed and a good seed in the Big East Championships. We need to keep winning, hopefully win the Big East Championship, and then we'll move onto the NCAAs."