NO.1 WVU Advances to Big 12 Semifinal - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

NO.1 WVU Advances to Big 12 Semifinal

Posted: Updated:
WVU women's soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown WVU women's soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (November 2, 2016) – A 65-minute rain delay could not slow down the No. 1-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team’s lethal attack, as the top-seeded Mountaineers poured in two second-half goals and cruised to a 3-0 win over No. 8-seed Texas Tech this afternoon in the first of four Big 12 Soccer Championship quarterfinal matches at Swope Soccer Village.

 

Sophomore forward Sh’Nia Gordon tallied her second straight game-winner in the 15th minute, a goal which proved crucial for the Mountaineers (17-1-1, 8-0), as the game was halted right before the start of the second half due to lightening in the area.

 

Out of the break, WVU added goals in the 57th and 59th minutes, eliminating the reigning Big 12 Soccer Championship victors and emphatically punching its own ticket to the semifinals for the fourth straight year. The Mountaineers will face the winner of No. 4 Oklahoma – No. 5 Iowa State on Friday, Nov. 4, at 5:30 p.m. ET.  

 

“I love that even though there was adversity swirling today and a lot of obstacles to deal with, we found a way to put a good Texas Tech team away,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “We haven’t put a team away like that all year. We battled today, and it was a total team effort. Now, we advance to the next game.”

 

The shutout, the team’s ninth straight and 13th of the season, matches the longest streak in program and Big 12 history, first set by WVU last season. No conference opponent has scored on the Mountaineers since Nov. 6, 2015.

 

“The backline made really good decisions today,” Izzo-Brown explained. “Keisha was commander-in-chief back there; she really stepped it up when Texas Tech applied pressure. All four defenders and goalkeeper Michelle Newhouse worked so hard for that shutout.”

 

WVU finished with a 24-10 edge in shots, and junior Michelle Newhouse made two second-half saves for her third career shutout. The Mountaineers forced Lauren Watson, the 2016 All-Big 12 First Team goaltender, into five saves.

 

Today marks the first time WVU tallied three goals at the Big 12 Soccer Championship since defeating Kansas, 3-0, in the quarterfinals on Nov. 6, 2013. With the win, the Mountaineers improve to 7-2-1 in all-time Big 12 Championship matches.

 

The Mountaineers tallied a first-half goal for just the 13th time this season today, as two perfectly placed passes set Gordon up for her fifth score of the season. Senior midfielder Ashley Lawrence directed the ball toward the top of the box, where a waiting Michaela Abam quickly flicked it ahead to Gordon. The Ocklawaha, Florida, native ran up on the ball, met it just inside the penalty-kick line and directed her shot around the outstretched hands of Watson and toward the near left post.

 

The goal proved important, as halftime was extended for 65 minutes due to lightening in the area.

 

“That goal was huge,” Izzo-Brown added. “We went into the break really not knowing what the weather was going to be like, so we needed that goal. I’m so proud of Nia.”

 

Following the drawn-out intermission, the Mountaineers quickly pushed their lead to three.

 

Abam had a hand in the second score, sending a through ball up the right sideline which was chased down by junior forward Heather Kaleiohi. She took the angle on the ball and placed her shot wide of the 12-yard line away from Watson and toward the far left post.

 

Less than two minutes later, junior midfielder Carla Portillo punctuated the Mountaineers’ scoring with her fifth goal of the season, connecting on a deflected, end-line pass from Lawrence right in front of the goal mouth.

 

“We needed this output today,” Izzo-Brown said. “It’s all about momentum. Texas Tech was desperate to find a goal, and we were able to just put the game away.”

 

Today is the first two-assist match of the year for Lawrence and Abam. Lawrence now shows a team-best eight helpers on the year, and her career total moves to 27, good enough for third place on the program’s all-time chart. The Toronto native needs six more to match the program record of 33, set by associate head coach Lisa Stoia.

 

Abam’s team-best point total now stands at 22 (8 G, 6 A).

 

The Red Raiders looked to chip into the lead in the 68th minute. Jordie Harr sent a cross that was chased down by Natalie Schmutz. Newhouse made the correct first move, left her line and halted the chance beautifully.

 

Newhouse again made the right decision late in the match, as a dive in the 85th minute stopped a drifting shot by defender Cassie Borren.

 

Lawrence paced the field with six shots. She and Gordon each placed two on-frame. Harr led the Red Raiders with three shots.

 

Just one minute before Gordon’s first-half goal, Abam had two great looks right in front of the net. After receiving a cross from Lawrence, and with her back to the frame, the Houston native used her heel to direct her shot toward the left post, but it was blocked away. The deflection came right back to her, but her shot from inside six yards went above the crossbar.

 

The Red Raiders earned a clean look in the 29th minute, as midfielder Gwennie Puente worked the ball high above the box, but her sliding shot went above the crossbar.

 

Gordon nearly gave the Mountaineers the two-goal lead in the 36th minute, as she ran up on a cross from sophomore forward Hannah Abraham, but her shot near the goal line was stopped by Watson.

 

With the win, WVU’s second of the year against TTU, the Mountaineers improve to 5-2 in the all-time series and 1-1 at the Big 12 Soccer Championship.

 

For more information on the Mountaineers, follow @WVUWomensSoccer on Twitter.

  • More SportsMore>>

  • Izzo-Brown Inducted into WVSA Hall of Fame

    Izzo-Brown Inducted into WVSA Hall of Fame

    Monday, September 18 2017 1:34 PM EDT2017-09-18 17:34:43 GMT
    WVSA announces induction of WVU women’s soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown as meritorious member into WVSA Hall of Fame - Class of 2018. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)WVSA announces induction of WVU women’s soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown as meritorious member into WVSA Hall of Fame - Class of 2018. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)

    The West Virginia Soccer Association has announced the induction of WVU women's soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, as a meritorious member into the WVSA Hall of Fame - Class of 2018.

    The West Virginia Soccer Association has announced the induction of WVU women's soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, as a meritorious member into the WVSA Hall of Fame - Class of 2018.

  • Inside WVU Game Day: The Mountaineer Mascot

    Inside WVU Game Day: The Mountaineer Mascot

    Sunday, September 17 2017 10:32 AM EDT2017-09-17 14:32:13 GMT
    The Mountaineer Mascot celebrates a WVU touchdown at FedEx Field.The Mountaineer Mascot celebrates a WVU touchdown at FedEx Field.

    The atmosphere at Milan Puskar Stadium on game day is truly unlike any other and the Mountaineer mascot plays a big part in making the experience one of a kind.

    The atmosphere at Milan Puskar Stadium on game day is truly unlike any other and the Mountaineer mascot plays a big part in making the experience one of a kind.

  • No. 3 Mountaineers Swarm Spiders

    No. 3 Mountaineers Swarm Spiders

    Sunday, September 10 2017 5:18 PM EDT2017-09-10 21:18:38 GMT
    Michaela Abam and the WVU women's soccer team earned a 3-0 victory over Richmond on Sunday. (PHOTO: Anjelica Trinone)Michaela Abam and the WVU women's soccer team earned a 3-0 victory over Richmond on Sunday. (PHOTO: Anjelica Trinone)

    The No. 3-ranked WVU women’s soccer team earned its fifth win of the season on Sunday. Hear from Coach Izzo-Brown and the Mountaineers after the win.

    The No. 3-ranked WVU women’s soccer team earned its fifth win of the season on Sunday. Hear from Coach Izzo-Brown and the Mountaineers after the win.