West Virginia scores two early goals to advance to Sweet 16
Published: Monday, November 15, 2010
Updated: Monday, November 15, 2010 01:11
The No. 7 West Virginia women's soccer team was able to beat Penn State when it really mattered.
After losing its only home game of the season to the Nittany Lions in the Mountaineers' season opener in August, WVU revenged that defeat Sunday with a 2-1 win to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
West Virginia will advance to face former Big East foe Boston College in the Sweet 16.
West Virginia has now won 14-consecutive games. The Mountaineers now have 18 wins this season which ties a school record.
"That's a lot of wins," said WVU head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. "The team has done such a great job of taking it game by game. I know how hard it is to win 18 games. I've coached many great teams here that have never won that many games."
The Mountaineers took the lead with two first-half goals. Defender Drea Barklage scored the team's first goal off a set piece, before defender Meghan Lewis scored only minutes later to take a 2-0 lead.
Penn State cut the deficit to one heading into the half, but West Virginia was able to turn up its defense to hold on for the win.
Barklage netted her fifth goal of the season 14 minutes into the game off a header off a corner kick from defender Bry McCarthy. The lead gave West Virginia momentum which it quickly capitalized from.
Minutes later, Lewis gave West Virginia a two-goal lead on a shot from 15 yards out that was lofted past PSU goalkeeper Krissy Tribbett toward the left-side goalpost and into the back of the net. It was Lewis' third goal on the season.
"I just shot it, and it nicked the post and went in," Lewis said. "It was unreal. I don't think many people thought I was going to shoot it, because I rarely shoot the ball. But, I did and it went in."
West Virginia's defense was solid throughout the contest, as the Mountaineers were out-shot 17-to-8.
Penn State attempted to use its speed to run past the back line. The Nittany Lions were successful just once, though, as forward Danielle Toney beat the WVU defense and slid a ball past West Virginia goalkeeper Kerri Butler in the first half.
"Their forwards were so dynamic," Lewis said. "They had so much speed. We had to keep positive talking throughout the back line. The forwards helped a lot along with the midfield. We didn't want the season to end for the seniors."
There were 27 fouls called throughout the game, as Penn State tried to establish a physical mentality early on. Three yellow cards were given. Two of those went to Penn State players.
The Mountaineers didn't let the physical play bother them. Still, Izzo-Brown was upset with the consistency of the officiating.
"That was a tough team to have in the second round," said WVU head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. "That was a tough game. We've experienced so many things as a team. We've been up a goal, down a goal. They were warriors out there."