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WVU Women’s Soccer

Women’s Soccer Beats Iowa State to Kick off Conference Play



MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU Women’s Soccer team added a seventh season win to open Big 12 Conference play with a 4-0 victory over Iowa State on Friday night.

It was Diversity and Inclusion Day at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium, and country flags were hung around the pitch to celebrate each West Virginia player’s diverse background.

Nearly as soon as the whistle blew, the Iowa State Cyclones (3-5) put the press on WVU head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown’s defense. In the 17th minute, WVU junior goalkeeper Kayza Massey made her first save of the night, deflecting a shot off the foot of Cyclone junior midfielder Claudia Najera. Another Iowa State shot from freshman midfielder Lauren McConnell went off the side of the goal and out of bounds. Nevertheless, Iowa State persisted. A third saved shot came in the 25th minute from freshman midfielder Morina Suter-Doerig, but still, nothing passed Massey’s gloves.

Now on the defensive, Izzo-Brown’s team quickly battled back from the press. Following an offsides call, WVU’s senior midfielder Isabella Sibley drove the ball down the field, through the entire Iowa State team, and passed to redshirt senior striker Lauren Segalla, who rocketed the ball behind ISU’s junior goalkeeper Jordan Silkowitz for the first Mountaineer score, in the 28th minute.

The Mountaineers entered halftime up 1-0 and hoping to put at least one more away. That wish not only came true, but multiplied.

WVU came tearing down the field to start the second half. Now, fully in a win mentality, the momentum palpably flipped. After accounting for 55 percent of the first half possession, the Mountaineers were primed and ready to take on a tired Cyclone team. A shot in the 50th minute off WVU sophomore midfielder Lilly McCarthy was swiftly saved by Silkowitz, but the Mountaineers bore down inside the 16′. Another 51st minute shot from Segalla went high, but the Mountaineers had staked their dominance. A corner fell at the feet of Sibley, who tallied her second assist of the game; junior midfielder Juliana Lynch recorded her second goal of the season in the 52nd minute off Sibley’s pass.

The Mountaineers ratcheted up the score 2-0, and the lead only grew from there. A quick ten minutes passed as the ball continued to stay on the Cyclones’ defending half. In the 63rd minute, Segalla found herself back inside the six, ready to capitalize. And capitalize, she did. Her second score of the night careened in the goal to put the Mountaineers up 3-0; a quick flick buried itself behind Silkowitz and the cushion goal was set. A three-score lead is what Izzo-Brown preaches to her players, and tonight, that came to fruition for the fourth time this season.

“Sports is always about momentum,” Izzo Brown said of her team’s ability to maintain a presence in Iowa State territory 71 percent of the game. “It was just a big momentum at that point, because I don’t know if the scuffle, we missed a couple and then finally got one in, but huge. Huge moments in the game.”

It didn’t stop there though. As the WVU score heightened, Iowa State got scrappier. Both Suter-Doenig and junior midfielder Eva Steckelberg earned ISU yellow cards in the 66th and 74th minutes, respectively.

In the 77th minute, junior striker Julianne Vallerand added a shot on goal, but it ricocheted off the crossbar. That bounce landed at the foot of sophomore forward AJ Rodriguez, who had spent the entire game lurking in the midfield and making quick runs inside the 18. She finally got her chance to capitalize, heading it past a dazed Silkowitz for the Mountaineers’ fourth, and final, goal.

As the 90th minute neared, the Mountaineers focused on maintenance. Two more shots from Rodriguez were fired at Silkowitz, but to no avail. The musket fired and Country Roads played while 1,005 of the Mountaineer faithful swayed in the stands.

“I think any time you can put four goals on the board, I have to be pleased,” Izzo-Brown said. “Then, to turn around and have a shut-out on top of that was a total team performance. Obviously, Iowa State was good. They had a couple opportunities. I was just really happy that Lauren [Segalla] lead us with those two goals and [Juliana] Lynch and AJ [Rodriguez] were able to finish. More importantly, we got our three points and our shut-out.”

With this win, the No. 13 Mountaineer Women’s Soccer team moved to 7-2-1, 1-0 in conference. They’ll look forward to welcoming the Oklahoma Sooners to Morgantown on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m for Mental Health Awareness Night.

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