WVU Women’s Soccer Records Third Straight Draw
West Virginia’s No. 25-ranked women’s soccer team played to a 0-0 draw Sunday afternoon against No. 19 Northwestern in a neutral site game at Purdue’s Folk Field.
It’s the third straight draw of the young campaign for WVU (0-3-1), which started the season with a 1-0 loss at Penn State on Aug. 17 and then played to a 1-1 tie against Arkansas on Aug. The Mountaineers had another 1-1 draw against Purdue this past Friday, and then went through a scoreless match against the Wildcats (3-0-1) on Sunday.
This is the first time in the history of WVU’s women’s soccer program, which began varsity play in 1996, that the Mountaineers have not recorded a victory through their first three matches, say nothing of their first four.
Head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown’s WVU squad has been ranked in the top 25 of the United Soccer Coaches poll every week of the regular season dating back to Sept. 3, 2013, but that five-year run could be in jeopardy after two more draws for the 25th ranked Mountaineers this week.
“I tell this team all the time – soccer is a game of inches,” Izzo-Brown said. “We’re hitting posts, and we’re creating chances. The ball is going to go in. Unfortunately, we played a great game today, we just didn’t finish.
“We are a program that’s here to win,” she added. “Northwestern is a very dynamic team. For us to keep them to just two shots on-goal was something we feel good about because they are such a good team. We know we were good enough to win today.”
Pressing throughout the second half, the Mountaineers nearly capitalized in the first 10-minute overtime period off a free kick in the 95th minute. An NU foul gave WVU a free chance just over midfield. Wildcat goalkeeper Mackenzie Wood pushed the ball back into play from her line. Sophomore forward Lauren Segalla jumped on the ball and tipped it to senior midfielder Nadya Gill, who sent it wide of the six-yard box to classmate Grace Cuter. The midfielder quickly headed it toward the near left post, but the shot skimmed the net and went out of play.
WVU’s best chance of the second overtime came off a chance from senior forward Sh’Nia Gordon in the 105th minute. Segalla worked the ball into the box, with Gordon waiting near the penalty line. Pulled down while she was shooting, Wood made the save on her line.
Sophomore midfielder Stefany Ferrer-vanGinkel had the last look of the match, as she took a shot in front of Wood with seconds on the clock. The NU goalkeeper dropped to her knees for her 10th save of the match.
The Mountaineers finished with a 32-6 edge in shots. Junior Rylee Foster countered Wood’s 10 saves with two of her own, both in the first half. WVU also earned an 11-1 edge in corner kicks.
Gordon paced the field with seven shots, one more than the Wildcats registered in 110 minutes of action, and placed four on-goal. Gill finished with six shots, two on-goal.
“Our goal is to get a little better each game,” Izzo-Brown added. “We moved the ball better today, and we were able to offset Northwestern. We did an excellent job executing the game plan.”
The Mountaineers looked lethal in the 58th minute. Segalla tracked the ball near midfield, forcing a turnover and quickly sending it to a streaking Jade Gentile. The junior forward beat two NU defenders to the ball and took a shot inside the box, but it skimmed the right post before going out.
Less than a minute later, Gill earned two looks. The first, a hard shot high of the box, was stopped by Wood and pushed back into play. The second, in nearly the same position, was tipped by Wood at the crossbar and pushed out of play for a corner kick.
Foster was called into action early in the first half. NU worked the ball up the right side of the field in the third minute before crossing into the box. Forward Nia Harris directed a shot toward the right post, but Foster was there for the stop.
Eleven minutes later, Foster made a heads-up play on an NU free kick. With two Wildcats sitting at the left post, she snatched the ball out of the air and thwarted any sort of chance.
The Mountaineers nearly earned the first-half lead in the 35th minute off two quality chances from Gordon. Sophomore midfielder Grace Smith sent a beautiful thru ball which Gordon chased into the box before taking a running shot, which was blocked by Wood off her line. Gordon pounced on the rebound and immediately put it on-frame, but the ball smacked off the far-left post and bounced back into play.
Foster’s second save of the half was just as pretty as the first, as she tracked NU’s corner kick in the 40th minute and pushed a header by Kayla Sharples away at the crossbar.
With the draw, the all-time series against NU moves to 1-0-1.
West Virginia will host its first two home matches of the season this coming weekend, as Xavier comes to Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 30 for a match that starts at 7 p.m. No. 15 Georgetown will be in Morgantown for a Sunday, Sept. 2 contest that begins at 3 p.m.