WVU Women’s Soccer Rallies For Draw
Facing its second 1-0 deficit of the weekend, West Virginia’s women’s soccer team was able to rally.
While the resulting 1-1 draw with Arkansas on Sunday wasn’t the win the team was hoping for, it did prevent an 0-2 start for the ninth-ranked Mountaineers.
West Virginia played with only ten players for the final 23-plus minutes of the game after senior Sh’Nia Gordon was assessed a yellow and then a red card. However, WVU was able to hold the Razorbacks off the scoreboard to escape with the draw.
“What a great weekend for us to face two tough opponents like No. 4 Penn State and Arkansas,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said of the Penn State Invitational. “I really saw a lot of character from this team this weekend, especially after going down a goal today. We didn’t give up.
“I got to see a lot of different players out on the field this weekend, and that’s going to be good for this team as we move forward this season. We have a lot to evaluate, and we have areas to improve. I always schedule a tough road stretch at the beginning of the season, and I’m getting exactly what I asked for this year.”
After conceding a goal in the 16th minute, the Mountaineers (0-1-1) dug their heels in and withstood multiple Razorback (1-0-1) fouls before earning a penalty kick in the 61st minute. Following the Mountaineers’ sixth corner kick, an Arkansas defender was whistled for a foul near the goal line. Senior defender Bianca St. Georges connected from the line for her third career goal.
Despite the loss of Gordon, WVU nearly secured the win in the 90th minute, as sophomore forward Lauren Segalla sent a flick to a streaking St. Georges wide right, who took a quick shot but was stopped at the right post by Arkansas’ Rachel Harris.
WVU’s best chance in overtime came seven minutes in, as a collision between Harris and a teammate at the top of the box resulted in a loose ball. Senior forward Hannah Abraham pounced and took a clean shot at the goal, but a Razorback defender cleared the ball at the goal line.
After senior midfielder Nadya Gill’s shot in the 106th minute was stopped at the right post by new Arkansas goalkeeper Taylor Beitz, classmate Easther Mayi Kith made the Mountaineers’ last stop two minutes later, as she closed in on a surging Madison Louk inside the box before blocking her shot.
The Mountaineers finished with a 24-14 edge in shots, though both teams registered three shots in the two overtimes.
Junior goalkeeper Rylee Foster made two saves, both in the first half, while WVU forced Arkansas into 11 saves. The Mountaineers also earned a 10-4 edge in corner kicks.
A miscue in the 16th minute befuddled the Mountaineers and put them in a hole early. Foster left her line to challenge a charging Stefani Doyle. The forward pushed around Foster, and with an open look at the net, finished to the far-left post.
The Mountaineers challenged Harris early in the match, putting four shots on goal in the first 10 minutes. Sophomore midfielder Stefany Ferrer-vanGinkel had back-to-back looks in the fifth minute, but Harris was at the left post for the first stop from inside the box then at the right post for the shot from 18-out.
Foster prevented Doyle from doubling the Razorbacks’ lead eight minutes after her score, catching her long shot at the line after the Mountaineers’ blocked her first attempt.
St. Georges earned WVU’s last look of the first half, pushing the ball wide of the penalty line before taking a shot that was caught at the near-right post.
Gordon nearly doubled the Mountaineers’ goal output two minutes after St. Georges’ score. With the ball wide, she took the angle on Harris before sending in her shot from 16 yards out. The ball cruelly skimmed the far-right post before going out of play.
Today was the first-ever meeting between the Mountaineers and the Razorbacks. Arkansas is the 110th different opponent WVU has faced in 23 seasons. Of note, five yellow cards and one red card were issued today.
The Mountaineers continue their season-opening road swing at the Purdue Tournament Aug. 24-26, in West Lafayette, Indiana. WVU kicks against the host Boilermakers on Aug. 24 at 7 p.m.