WVU Drops Opener To #4 Penn State
A strong defensive showing was thwarted by a one-timer shot, and the No. 9-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team fell, 1-0, at No. 4 Penn State in its 2018 season opener tonight at Jeffrey Field in front of 3,126 fans.
Statistically, the Mountaineers (0-1) outmuscled the Nittany Lions (1-0), but a sneaky goal by sophomore midfielder Shea Moyer in the 80th minute gave WVU its first season-opening loss since 2014.
Alone at the top of the 18-yard box and with the ball at her feet, Moyer took the angle on the Mountaineer backline and sent a low shot away from the reach of WVU junior goalkeeper Rylee Foster and toward the far-left post.
WVU finished with a 13-7 shot advantage and earned a 7-3 edge in corner kicks. The Mountaineers forced PSU goalkeeper Amanda Dennis into five saves, while Foster stopped three for WVU.
The match was delayed by 50 minutes due to inclement weather.
Needing a goal with less than four minutes remaining, Mountaineer freshman midfielder Addison Clark earned a chance outside the box. She sent a hard shot toward the goal line, but Dennis was there at the line for her last save of the match.
Senior forward Sh’Nia Gordon paced the field with three shots, including a nice look just before the decisive goal. Senior defender Bianca St. Georges pushed the ball forward before sending it toward the line. Gordon gave chase and earned a shot near the right post, which was stopped by Dennis.
Just 11 minutes before the decisive goal, Foster stopped a chance by PSU’s Kerry Abello, pushing a long shot wide and out. The Mountaineer defense successfully defended the ensuing corner kick before flipping the field.
The Mountaineers controlled the flow of the match in the first half and nearly snagged a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute. Senior midfielder Grace Cutler pushed the ball forward before sending it wide to Gordon. Gordon played with her defender inside the 12-yard box before sending in an on-frame shot. The ball pinged off the inside of the far-left post and back into play.
WVU earned two quality chances in the final four minutes of the first half. The Mountaineers’ fourth corner kick bounced inside the box before junior forward Jade Gentile settled it wide. She sent a pass to senior midfielder Nadya Gill atop the box, who immediately took a lofting shot, but the ball sailed over the frame.
Two minutes later, freshman forward Alina Stahl earned the Mountaineers’ first shot on-goal. Alone inside the box, she sent a hard ball toward PSU’s Amanda Dennis, but the junior goalkeeper caught it at the line.
The WVU defense denied Penn State a shot for 44 minutes before a late foul gave the Nittany Lions a free kick five yards above the box. Midfielder Charlotte Williams put the chance on frame, and Rylee Foster easily made the catching save.
The Mountaineers earned a 5-1 edge in shots in the first half and a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks.
The Mountaineers resume action against Arkansas on Sunday, Aug. 19, with first kick scheduled for noon at Jeffrey Field. Earlier tonight, the Razorbacks earned a 1-0 victory over Duquesne.