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WVU Women’s Soccer

No. 7 Penn State Prowls Past No. 13 WVU Women’s Soccer

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Sixty-three seconds.

That’s all it took for the No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions (3-0) to best the No. 13 West Virginia Mountaineers (3-1).

WVU head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown’s team came out tearing it up in the first half. Momentum was on their side. Even though the Penn State team had possession for 58 percent of the half, the Mountaineers weren’t far behind. WVU junior goalkeeper Kayza Massey held down the fort for nearly half an hour, and the rest of the team trimmed Penn State’s attack down to only eight shots on goal.

Unfortunately, in the 30th minute, the game quickly went downhill for the Mountaineers. A quick corner from Penn State met a scrum at the 18, and the foot of sophomore forward Ellie Wheeler, who powered the ball to the back of the net. It was a costly mistake for this Mountaineer defense, and one that the Nittany Lions would soon use as a catalyst.

“I think that Kenzie [Aunkst] and Kayza [Massey] just weren’t communicating on that,” Izzo-Brown said of the communication breakdown on the defensive front. “I think Kenzie thought Kayza had it and Kayza thought Kenzie had it. We’ll watch film and it’s a great opportunity for us to get better and work on it.”

Sixty-three seconds later, in the 31st minute, Penn State senior Kerry Abello scooted around the Mountaineer defense once more and rocketed one into the upper 90, out of reach of Massey.

“It was something that … we’ve got to give Kerry credit,” Izzo-Brown said. “She was able to cut pressure and finish a great chance, but yeah. It was (deflating) because, again, the momentum of what we were doing, constantly knocking, knocking, and then all of a sudden, two quick ones and you’re like, ‘What just happened?’”

Going into halftime with a goose egg on the board, Izzo-Brown needed to regroup.

“You’ve got to just keep talking about short-term memory, and you’ve just got to kind of say, ‘Alright. It’s behind us now and now we’ve 45 minutes ahead of us. What are we going to do?'”

After some minor adjustments, WVU took over the possessions in the second half, attacking the Penn State half 57 percent of the time. Even with eight shots on goal and 13 total shots though, the area behind Penn State redshirt junior goalkeeper Katherine Asman lay barren.

The Mountaineers finished the game with 15 shots on goal, but none that found the net.

“At the end of the day, we’re hunting shut-outs,” Izzo-Brown said. “We didn’t get that. You’ve got to give Penn State credit and we’ve got to keep learning from our failures and hunt that consistency.”

It was a disappointing loss, but Izzo-Brown is optimistic heading into the team’s second consecutive top 25 match, next week, against the No. 8 Georgetown Hoyas on Sept. 9 in Morgantown.

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