MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (November 15, 2014) – Though the No. 7-ranked Mountaineers pushed their unbeaten streak to a program-record 19 matches, a 0-0 draw was not enough, as the third-seeded West Virginia University women’s soccer team was eliminated from the 2014 NCAA Tournament by Georgetown tonight at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
The Hoyas (11-4-6, 6-1-2) advance to the second round thanks to a 4-3 edge in penalty kicks.
“It’s hard because this one moment shouldn’t define everything this team accomplished,” said Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “It’s just hard that it came to this (PKs) this early (in the tournament). I give Georgetown a lot of credit for the way they played. We didn’t finish our opportunities tonight. Unfortunately, it came down to the last game, and we didn’t play our best.”
Tonight marks the first time in WVU’s 19-year history the Mountaineers are eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by PKs. The squad advanced to the second round in the 2013 tournament after toppling Rutgers, 3-0, in a shootout; that 0-0 draw also was played in Morgantown.
WVU is 12-14-2 in all-time NCAA Tournament play.
The Mountaineers (16-2-4, 7-0-1), the 2014 Big 12 Conference regular-season and tournament champions, end the year on a 19-match unbeaten streak, besting the program record of 18, first set in 2002. The squad’s 16 wins are tied for the third-best single-season showing in program history, while its two losses are the fewest ever by a Mountaineer team.
WVU fell behind early in the shootout, as senior forward Kate Schwindel, seeing her first action of the night, missed just left of the net, while Rachel Corboz tallied a make for GU. The squads traded makes in the second round, but WVU fell further behind in the third, with senior midfielder Ali Connelly, also seeing her first action, missing to the left and Taylor Pak connecting on her chance.
Freshman forward Michaela Abam connected for WVU’s second make in the fourth round, and redshirt-freshman Michelle Newhouse, playing off the bench in her second shootout of the month, gave the Mountaineers life, diving to the right post and stopping Kaitlin Bast’s shot to put the tally at 3-2 moving into the fifth round. A make by senior defender Jess Crowder gave WVU a fleeting chance, but GU’s Daphne Corboz halted the Mountaineers’ hopes as she connected of the team’s fifth and final attempt.
“I thought Michelle came up with the one save she needed tonight, but unfortunately we just didn’t finish ours,” said Izzo-Brown.
Junior Hannah Steadman delivered the draw for WVU and registered her 11th shutout of the season with a season-high six saves. Her single-season shutout total is tied for third all-time in the Mountaineer record book.
The shutout was the team’s 12th of the year and 10th all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
The Hoyas’ Emma Newins made seven saves this evening.
“Georgetown did a good job of disrupting us and preventing us from getting any kind of rhythm tonight,” said Izzo-Brown.
The Mountaineers had two quality chances in the first five minutes of the match. The first came from Abam, as she got a shot off while falling down 12-yards away from the net, but the ball cruelly hit off the right post. Utley followed with her own shot 20 seconds later, but her low chance skimmed the goal line and was pushed out and away by Newins for WVU’s first of eight corner kicks.
The Hoyas had their own close chance just one minute later, as Corboz’s shot from outside the box smacked off the crossbar.
The Mountaineers finished with six corner kicks in the first 24 minutes, with the last earned following a blast from Abam that sent Newins back-peddling for a punch-out save made by her fingertips.
The second half saw the teams trade possession between the 18s. Steadman may have made the save of the game in the 84th minute, as she came off her line to challenge a charging Vanessa Skrumbis. Steadman laid out near the penalty-kick line and blocked Skrumbis’ shot, and Crowder followed with a beautiful clear.
Mountaineer forward Amandine Pierre-Louis took a deep shot just 37 seconds later and almost gave WVU the goal it needed, as Newins misplayed the ball and it nearly crawled behind the line, but her last-ditch effort solidified the save.
“I thought we had better chances and created more opportunities in the second half,” said Izzo-Brown. “Both teams played pretty tight today. You could tell both teams wanted the win. Against a good team like Georgetown, you have to finish your chances, and unfortunately we did not tonight.”
Neither team registered a quality shot in either overtime.
The Mountaineers finished with a 30-12 advantage in shots and an 8-5 edge in corner kicks. Abam finished with a career-high 10 shots, placing a game-best two on-frame.
Tonight’s tie was the second of the season between the squads, as they played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw on Sept. 12, also in Morgantown. WVU continues to own a 14-3-2 all-time series edge.
This evening was the final contest for seniors Schwindel, Crowder, Connelly and goalkeeper Katie Osterman. The class finishes with seven conference titles and a 60-14-12 career record.
For more information on the Mountaineers, follow @WVUWomensSoccer on Twitter.
Release via – WVU Sports Information