No. 3 Mountaineers Swarm Spiders - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

No. 3 Mountaineers Swarm Spiders

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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)

MORGANTOWN – The No. 3-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team victoriously closed its homestand this afternoon, defeating Richmond, 3-0, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

For the second straight season, the Mountaineers (5-2) used an early goal to quickly put the Spiders (0-6) away, as junior forward Grace Cutler tallied her first of the year just 1:42 into the match for the ninth-fastest goal in program history.

“That goal was huge,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “Grace is a tempo player for us. You look at her and say you want to work harder because she’s working so hard. For her to finish that was huge.”

Senior forward Michaela Abam played the ball forward for Cutler, who ran-up on it just inside the box before sending a low shot toward the near left post.

In control, WVU cruised to its fourth clean sheet of the year, outshooting Richmond 34-3. The Mountaineers placed 17 shots on-frame, the fifth-most in program history.

“I thought we responded well today and were able to create a whole lot of chances,” Izzo-Brown said. “Unfortunately, I thought we should have finished a couple more. They made sure we got a little better and grew as a team. I’m proud of the tempo we came out with today.”

Senior forward Heather Kaleiohi added the first of two insurance goals in the 57th minute. Junior forward Sh’Nia Gordon pushed the ball to the end line before sending a cross into the San Diego native, who immediately used her outside foot to direct the ball toward the far upper-right pocket for her first goal of the season.

Thirteen minutes later, Gordon added a goal of her own. After receiving the ball high above the box from freshman midfielder Lois Joel, the Ocklawaha, Florida, native pushed left before sending a high, lofting shot from 24-yards out that sailed toward the left post.

“Those goals couldn’t have come to three more deserving players,” Izzo-Brown added. “I’m excited that we were able to finish.”

Gordon finished with a season-high three points (1 G, 1 A). She now ranks first on the team with seven points (2 G, 3 A).

Abam paced the field with a career high and program-record 15 shots. Seven shots landed on-frame, also a career high and the second-best individual total in program history.

With her assist on Cutler’s game-winner, Abam’s career point total moves to 83 (34 G, 15 A). She continues to rank No. 9 in program history.

Abam nearly snagged her own goal in the 27th minute. After intercepting the ball in the final-third, she played with the Richmond defense before taking a shot from seven-yards out. Brennan moved toward the right post for the stop.

Kaleiohi looked to give WVU a 2-0 lead in the first half, but her header in the 32nd minute was called back by a foul.

Cutler had a great chance for her second score in the 35th minute. After a Spider foul on Kaleiohi inside the box, the Fort Collins, Colorado, native stepped to the line for the penalty chance. Brennan made the right first move and stopped the attempt. Cutler pounced on the rebound and immediately shot it, but Brennan pushed it up and over the net.

Four minutes later, forward Lexi Prillaman worked her way behind the WVU backline before taking a shot from 15-yards out. Sophomore Rylee Foster fell on the ball near the right post for her lone save of the game.

Foster worked all 90 minutes for her 12th career shutout.

Prior to Kaleiohi’s insurance goal, the Mountaineers fired eight shots to open the second half, including four on-frame. Abam and Kaleiohi worked together to set-up the team’s best chance in the 54th minute. Abam received the ball near the penalty-kick line from Gordon and immediately turned with a shot. From her line, Brennan slapped the ball back into play and right to Kaleiohi, who quickly headed it back toward the net. The ball slammed off the far right post and skirted the goal line before Brennan stopped play.

Less than a minute later, Abam nearly connected on a cross from Gordon, but it hit the near left post and went out.

The Mountaineers finished with a 5-1 edge in corner kicks.

With the win, WVU improves to 4-1-1 all-time against the Spiders.

The Mountaineers return to the road for the first time since Aug. 18 with a two-match swing in Princeton, New Jersey. The team faces the host Tigers on Friday, Sept. 15, at 4 p.m., then kicks against La Salle on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 1 p.m.

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