No. 7 Mountaineers Move Past Bucknell - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

No. 7 Mountaineers Move Past Bucknell

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Michaela Abam and the Mountaineers will host Rutgers on Friday, Nov. 17 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. (PHOTO: Anjelica Trinone) Michaela Abam and the Mountaineers will host Rutgers on Friday, Nov. 17 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. (PHOTO: Anjelica Trinone)

The No. 7-ranked and second-seeded West Virginia University women's soccer team combined brilliant offensive strikes with strong defensive prowess to easily move past Bucknell in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, defeating the Bison 3-0 this afternoon at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
 
The Mountaineers (16-3-2, 7-1-1) advance to the tournament's second round for the third straight season and will meet the winner of Rutgers-La Salle on Friday, Nov. 17, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium, at a time yet to be determined.
 
Senior forward Michaela Abam struck twice this afternoon, tallying the game-winner in the 16th minute and adding the first of two insurance goals in the 47th minute. The two-score showing was her first multi-score game since tallying a brace in a 3-1 win at Duke on Sept. 9, 2016.
 
"It's exciting for our senior class to advance," Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. "I really thought Michaela stepped it up, finishing two goals. The team had a clean sheet, and it was a total team effort defensively. I am pretty pleased with how we performed today and that we are able to advance against a very good Bucknell team."
 
Junior forward Sh'Nia Gordon added the team's third goal in the 58th minute.
 
The Mountaineer backline denied the Bison (12-9, 7-2) a shot, and Bucknell became the second team this season and seventh opponent in 22 years to not earn a look against WVU.
 
The win was the Mountaineers' 20th in NCAA Tournament history.
 
WVU finished with 25 shots and placed 12 on-frame. Theresa Attobrah made eight of the Bison's nine saves.
 
The Mountaineers also earned an 18-3 edge in corner kicks. The 18 chances match a program record, first set in a 2-1 (OT) win against Villanova on Oct. 19, 2008. The mark is a Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium record and five short of the NCAA record.
 
WVU's shutout, its 12th of the season, was credited to sophomore Rylee Foster, her 11th clean sheet of the year and her third in NCAA Tournament action.
 
Abam gave the Mountaineers the lead for good in the 16th minute, connecting on the team's fourth corner kick of the match. Senior midfielder Carla Portillo sent the ball in, and the Houston native headed it around Attobrah from six-yards out.
 
The All-American's insurance goal happened just 1:43 into the second half. Senior forward Heather Kaleiohi sent a cross in from the end line, and Abam quickly flicked it toward the near left post as she ran into the box.
 
"Something we wanted to focus on was just everybody moving off the ball and helping each other out, whether it's just moving on a different angle, or to just keep our communication going on," Abam said. "I think we did that pretty well today, and it just reiterates the fact that, again, it's postseason, and we have to keep our urgency up and make sure we're all focused in and doing our job."
 
Abam's team-best goal total moves to 10 on the year, giving her double-digit goal totals in three straight seasons. She continues to pace the team with 23 points (10 G, 3 A).
 
Seated at No. 3 in program history, Abam now shows 42 career goals; she needs three more scores to tie Katie Barnes (1998-2001) at No. 2. Abam's career point total moves to 100 (42 G, 16 A), and she ranks No. 4 in program history.
 
Gordon's goal, her third of the season, was off a cross from junior defender Bianca St. Georges. After receiving the ball wide from classmate Vanessa Flores, she immediately sent the ball into the box. Gordon received it near the penalty line and moved up and away from her defender before sending a hard shot toward the far-right post.
 
Gordon paced the field with six shots, three on-frame. Both marks were season highs.
 
Abam nearly netted her third goal in the 56th minute. Wide of the box, she drove toward the net before sending a shot that cruelly slammed off the left post. Gordon jumped on the rebound and sent a shot toward the frame that was tipped away for a Mountaineer corner.
 
Playing off the bench, freshman forward Stefany Ferrer-vanGinkel added a pair of on-frame shots late, but both were saved. The attempts were her first career shots on-goal.
 
Bucknell's only threat of the second half came quickly after Abam's second goal, as the Bison earned a pair of back-to-back corner kicks. The Mountaineer defense protected the box and cleared both attempts.
 
The Mountaineer attack equaled its season high in corner kicks in the first 45 minutes, tallying 13 against the Bison, including five straight in the closing 3:24.
 
This afternoon was the first-ever meeting between the Mountaineers and the Bison. With the win, WVU improves to 20-16-3 all-time in NCAA Tournament play and 14-6-3 in home tournament matches. The shutout was the squad's 17th in tournament action.

West Virginia will host Rutgers in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, November 17 at 7 p.m.
 

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