No. 22 West Virginia fights for 1-1 draw against No. 8 Penn State

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The West Virginia women’s soccer team is licking their chops after fighting for a 1-1 draw against rival Penn State on Friday night.

While much of the first half was played in West Virginia’s attacking third, the Mountaineers struggled to find the back of the net. They didn’t lack in chances, earning 9 corner kicks to Penn State’s 2, but they were out-shot for the first half.

The Mountaineers took a blow mid-way through the first half when Lauren Segalla needed to be helped off the pitch with an apparent leg injury.

The scoring would be opened by Penn State’s Ally Schlegel, who would get it past Rylee Foster with a header in the top corner of the net. The Nittany Lions would then take their 1-0 lead into the locker room for half time.

Despite the deficit, the Mountaineers seemed to improve on their previous two match-ups with top 10 opponents by keeping their opponents’ scoring to a minimum.

West Virginia would strike back right out of the gate in the second half when Alina Stahl took a pass from Julianne Vallerand and fired it in from outside the box in the 50th minute, her first of the season. This equalizer would take the score to the end of regulation, putting West Virginia in their first overtime contest of the season.

“Wednesday morning before practice, we probably did like, 30 minutes just that turn-quick shot off,” Stahl said. “That was very rewarding. As soon as I hit that, I was like, ‘that’s what we were practicing,’ so that was great.”

Despite several chances from both sides, neither team would convert in the overtime periods. The physical play would continue, however, which led to (among other things) WVU defender Jordan Brewster having to change jerseys due to blood stains.

“You know, you had two teams battling and really understanding what was at stake,” said WVU head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “We’re real disappointed that we didn’t get the result tonight, but I’m very proud at the way we battled.”

The draw brings West Virginia to a 2-2-1 record on the season, and is the first match-up against a top-10 opponent that doesn’t result in a loss.

“I told the group, the best lessons are losses unfortunately and if we keep getting a little bit better and out-work yesterday, a game like this can come together for us, but we still gotta get better,” Izzo-Brown said. “We didn’t get the result, and that’s what we wanted, but with the team and their performance tonight, I can see that they’re really focused on eliminating those mental errors and making sure we get our job done.”

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