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September 25, 2017 at 6:59 am #26063
A tough, scoreless battle was broken in the 88th minute by Cyera Hintzen, and the No. 5 West Virginia University women’s soccer team fell, 1-0, at No. 17 Texas this afternoon at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
The loss is the Mountaineers’ (8-3, 1-1) first in a Big 12 Conference regular-season match since the 2013 regular-season finale at Texas Tech on Oct. 27.
The Longhorns (10-0, 2-0) found their game-winner off a long ball to the end line. Forward Katie Glenn sent the ball in to a waiting Hintzen, the reigning Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, who immediately struck it from 12-yards out toward the far-right post.
“This was a hard-fought match between two nationally ranked teams,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “You have to credit Texas for finding the game-winner. Both teams battled today. This is a good opportunity to work on some things and get better as we move forward in Big 12 play.”
UT finished with a 14-13 edge in shots. WVU made six saves, five credited to sophomore Rylee Foster. Nicole Curry made five stops for the Longhorns.
WVU finished with a 6-5 edge in corner kicks.
Down 1-0 with just 74 seconds remaining, the Mountaineers nearly earned the equalizer. Four connections led to a cross from junior forward Sh’Nia Gordon to senior forward Michaela Abam. Posted in front of the goal line, she immediately directed the ball toward the net. Curry fell to the ground and stuffed the attempt for her fifth save.
Abam paced the Mountaineers with four shots, three on-frame. UT’s Mikayla Flores tallied a game-high six shots.
Foster made a great save on Hintzen just six minutes prior to the game-winner. Flores sent a ball up, and Hintzen gave chase before taking a quick shot above the 18-yard box. Off her line, Foster caught the ball and immediately sent out for a quick possession change. Pressing, WVU senior forward Heather Kaleiohi ran into the box before shooting from 15-yards away. Curry made the catching save to halt the chance.
The Mountaineer defense stood tall in the 73rd minute. A UT corner kick went to the far-left post, where midfielder Kayra Dollas headed it toward the net, but sophomore midfielder Jade Gentile blocked it away.
WVU opened the second half with a quick chance. Off the first kick, the Mountaineers worked the ball into the attacking third, where junior midfielder Grace Cutler earned the team’s third corner kick of the day. UT defended the first kick, but WVU worked the ball back into the box, where a header from senior midfielder Alli Magaletta went just high of the crossbar.
The Mountaineers were able to get behind the Longhorn backline in the first half. Abam had a great look in the third minute, as junior defender Bianca St. Georges found her posted inside the six-yard box. The Houston native took a quick shot, but it skimmed the crossbar and landed on the top of the netting.
Active throughout the day, St. Georges had a one-on-one opportunity seven minutes later after receiving the ball wide from senior midfielder Carla Portillo. With just Curry to beat, she opted to send a cross into the box near the right post, and it was kicked away.
UT’s Flores snuck behind the WVU defense in the 31st minute and took an off-balance shot wide of the six-yard line. Foster was ready for it, and she caught the ball for her lone first-half save. Flores found room for a second shot five minutes later, but her look from distance went above the crossbar.
The Mountaineers countered with a flurry of chances late in the first half. Abam jumped on the ball above the box in the 43rd minute. She quickly turned, but her low chance was stopped by Curry. Gentile was denied just seconds later, as she brought a cross from Abam into the box before launching a hard shot on-frame. Curry again caught the ball for the save.
Despite the loss, WVU continues to own a 5-2-1 all-time series lead over the Longhorns.
The Mountaineers conclude their three-week road trip at Kansas State on Friday, Sept. 29, at 8 p.m. EST, in Manhattan, Kansas.0
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