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WVU Women’s Soccer

WVU Women’s Soccer Falls in Final Conference Match in Overtime

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown’s Women’s Soccer team (9-4-4) couldn’t get the job done under the lights at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium tonight, falling 2-1, in overtime.

Against the Oklahoma State Cowgirls (8-6-2), the Mountaineers were unable to find the space behind freshman goalkeeper Evie Vitali. The first half began hostile out of the gate. Stingy offsides calls and bodies flung to the ground seemed regular occurrences in the first 45, but nonetheless, WVU persevered.

It took 11 minutes, but on senior night, WVU’s Uxbridge, England native, senior midfielder Isabella Sibley tallied her final, regular season, Mountaineer goal. It was the first WVU shot on the board, and the game looked promising when West Virginia was working in one shot-one score fashion.

Unfortunately, the luck wore off quickly. Up 1-0, WVU was searching desperately for the cushion goal, but two early shots hit off Vitali’s goalpost and dribbled away. Between the offsides calls, eight in total, more than a dozen stoppages in play, and excessive crossbar attention, neither team seemed to be capable of planting the ball in the net.

“It’s kind of been the story of the whole year, and we just can’t buy goals,” Izzo-Brown said. “We’ve got to figure it out at the tournament, and at the end of the day, we have to put away those chances.”

WVU lead going into halftime, but the energy in Dick Dlesk waxed and waned. Nothing seemed easy for the Mountaineers. The midfield continued to get cluttered, and 26 percent of the Mountaineer touches clogged in the final third. For a team that controlled possession nearly 60 percent of the game, it was a disappointing showing to close the season. Off 11 shots, five on goal, only one found its way inside the net.

The lack of a solid, cushion goal became dangerous when, in the 53rd minute, Oklahoma State’s fifth year defender Hannah Webb struck gold down the middle of the field. Her run resulted in a tying score that the Mountaineers, quite frankly, didn’t look prepared for.

Even still, Izzo-Brown’s team had fought through adversity before. Even though she couldn’t post a clean sheet, WVU’s goalkeeper Kayza Massey played a lights-out game. She was agile and got behind all of Oklahoma State’s most daunting shot attempts, even flipping mid-air once to keep a corner attempt from transitioning into a lead. Yesterday, Massey was honored as the United Soccer Coaches Division I National Player of the Week, a huge success for the junior, considering that she started the week garnering additional honors as the Big 12 Conference and TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Goalkeeper of the Week on Tuesday and the WVU Student-Athlete of the Week on Monday.

Tied at one at the end of regulation, Massey and the WVU team went to their 11th overtime period of the season. Heading into this final game of the season, WVU was 0-4-1 in games that forced overtime, so the odds to outright win weren’t in their favor.

Not even two minutes into the 10-minute overtime period though, Oklahoma State’s junior forward Olyvia Dowell planted a ball firmly behind Massey, securing the Cowgirl win and clearing the OSU bench in celebration.

With the loss, Izzo-Brown’s team moved to 9-5-4 (3-3-3), while the Cowgirls conclude their regular season 9-6-2 (4-3-1). The Mountaineers’ season doesn’t end here though, and it’s likely that they’re run into the Cowgirls again when both teams travel to the Big 12 Tournament in Round Rock, Texas Oct. 31-Nov. 7.

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