The No. 7 West Virginia University women’s soccer team opened their spring campaign with a 3-1 win over Saint Joseph’s at Sweeney Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
West Virginia (8-2, 7-2 Big 12) and Saint Joseph's (1-3-1) met for the first time for this matchup, making them the Mountaineers 115th first-time opponent in the program’s 25-year history. West Virginia had control throughout the entire contest, outshooting the Hawks, 22-3, including 15-2 in shots on goal.
“I was pleased that we were creating chances,” WVU head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “Obviously, you always want to finish those chances, but at the end of the day, for us to finish three with this being our opening game of the spring, I thought was part of some of the things we did well”.
The Mountaineers came out flying at the start of the game and quickly got to work. Junior forward Lauren Segalla delivered the first shot of the day, that was saved by Hawks’ keeper freshman Katie Cappelletti.
Moments later junior Alina Stahl found the back of the net at 9:41 after forcing Cappelletti to come out to challenge, notching the first goal of the game and her fourth of the season. Stahl was assisted by junior midfielder Isabella Sibley and freshman midfielder Lilly McCarthy.
In less than ten minutes later, sophomore Julianne Vallerand was able to extend the Mountaineers’ lead by taking a shot from the left side that deflected off a SJU defender and snuck into the goal, making it 2-0. Senior midfielder Stefany Ferrer-vanGinkel and Segalla earned the assist for the goal.
For the start of the second half, Saint Joseph’s was able to get a quick goal around the 46-minute mark by senior midfielder Sofia Filippo, making it 2-1.
The Mountaineers responded less than a minute later, Stahl depositing a rebound into an empty net, extending West Virginia’s lead to 3-1. This marked WVU’s third multi-goal performance of the 2020-21 season and was Stahl’s third career two-goal performance.
Despite the lead, the Mountaineers continued their dominating attack, trying to add to their lead with close shot attempts by McCarthy and Sibley.
Ferrer-vanGinkel also registered a pair of shots on goal. Segalla nearly scored again and freshman midfielder Maya Ladhani, who made her WVU debut, had a good shot blocked in the final minutes of the game.
SJU totaled 12 total saves in the game, denying the Mountaineers any more goals. Eight different players registered multiple shot attempts for WVU, none more than McCarthy, who had five shots and four shots on goal.
“We know that we still have to have a lot of growth before we see Duke,” Izzo-Brown said. “We’re going to continue to develop and get ready, and we’re just really excited to get better and make sure we’re developing along the way in this unusual season.”
Looking forward, WVU returns to exhibition play with a matchup against Racing Louisville FC of the National Women’s Soccer League on March 13, in Louisville, Kentucky. The team is set to host No. 5 Duke in its home-opener on March 27 at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown.