In the first ever meeting between the two programs, the No. 10-ranked West Virginia University women's soccer team downed Eastern Kentucky, 4-0, this evening at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
The Mountaineers (4-1-2) will enter Sunday's showdown with Southeastern Conference opponent Kentucky unblemished at home, as they've won three straight and held each of their opponents scoreless.
The shutout was the third of the season and 20th career for senior goalkeeper Sara Keane. The Mt. Laurel, N.J., native moves past Melissa Haire (19.5, 1998-2002) and now ranks No. 4 in the Mountaineer record book.
Keane finished the evening with just one save, but it was a big one, as she made a leaping tip at Nikki Donnelly's shot in the eighth minute and knocked the ball up and away from the net.
The Mountaineers dominated the Colonels (0-6-1) and retained possession for most of the game, earning a 14-3 advantage on shots and a 9-1 advantage on corner kicks.
"We learned early on this season against Syracuse that some teams were really respecting us - they're straining, staying compact and doing some things to offset what we do," says Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. "It's a huge compliment, and I give our girls some respect for really focusing and figuring out how we can get in to seams and spaces and figure out how to finish. EKU obviously had a game plan, and it was good that we could break it down."
Colonel goalkeeper Erika Wolfer earned the loss, allowing one goal in 12 minutes of action. Samm Melton was in between posts for the remainder of the game and made two saves.
Four different Mountaineers found the back of the net tonight, with freshmen midfielders Ashley Lawrence and Tessa Broadwater each scoring the first goals of their careers. Lawrence earned a game-best three points and pushed her season total to four.
"Tessa had a great goal tonight – very well deserved," says Izzo-Brown. "The same can be said for Ashley. It was really exciting for both of them to get on the board. Those two really stood out to me."
In total, 20 Mountaineers saw time on the pitch this evening.
"It's such a tremendous opportunity for some of our younger players to step-up, especially in show time," says Izzo-Brown. "I'm always excited to see what they can do with their opportunities; it's critical to see. I get to watch them in practice, but it was important for me to see them against an opponent."
Junior forward Kate Schwindel got the scoring started in the sixth minute, as she received a through ball from Lawrence, carried it into the box and took a shot 15-yards out that went near post. The goal was the fourth of the season for the Livingston, N.J., native, and the 19th of her career.
Sophomore defender Cari Price scored her third goal of the season 10 minutes later. Senior forward Frances Silva lofted a corner kick high into the box, giving Price a chance, and she kicked the ball toward the left post. All three of Price's scores, the firsts of her career, have come at Dick Dlesk.
With the assist, her team-best fifth of the season, Silva, the reigning Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, extended her scoring streak to seven games. She owns a team-best 13 points for the year.
Lawrence opened the scoring in the second half with a fantastic chance, ripping a shot off from the top of the box. The ball hit the far post and bounced behind Melton. Sophomore forward Annalika Steyn earned the assist on the play.
Less than nine minutes later, Broadwater earned her first points in a Mountaineer uniform, taking advantage of a turnover by Melton and connecting on a shot with her left foot from 18-yards out.
The Mountaineers return to Dick Dlesk on Sunday and play host to the Wildcats (4-1-1) at 1 p.m. UK kicked off against the University of Texas at San Antonio tonight, at 7:30 p.m., in Lexington, Ky. Sunday's match is a "Dollar Day," with all tickets, hot dogs, popcorn and Coca-Colas available for $1 each.
"Kentucky is a very good team," finishes Izzo-Brown. "It's going to be a great game. They made the NCAA Tournament last year and have a lot of returners back for another run. They are a very lethal team, especially on top."
For live stats and video stream of this weekend's matches courtesy of Kroger, visit WVUsports.com.
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