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Top-Ranked WVU Women Fall, 1-0 in 2OT to Georgetown

From WVU Athletic Department report
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (September 18, 2016) – For the first time in more than two years, the No. 1-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team lost at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium, as the Mountaineers suffered a 1-0 double-overtime defeat to No. 9 Georgetown in their home nonconference finale this afternoon.
 
Hoya senior forward Grace Damaska handed the Mountaineers (7-1-1) their first loss of 2016 in the 102nd minute, scoring on a long, lofting ball that hit off the crossbar and fell behind freshman goalkeeper Rylee Foster and into the far right corner of the net.
 

“When we were No. 1 this week, I said I never get too high. Now, we probably won’t be No. 1, and I’m not going to get too low,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “What I spoke to the team about is our response – what lesson are we going to learn? What do we want to do moving forward? How do we want to embrace this, fix it and get better? There’s a lot of season left.”

 
The loss is WVU’s first in Morgantown since a 2-0 defeat to No. 21 Duke on Aug. 29, 2014. It halts the team’s unbeaten home streak at 30, the 11th-best all-time mark in NCAA history.
 
The Hoyas (8-1) were the fifth ranked opponent WVU has faced in as many weeks. Ranked No. 1 for the first time in the program’s 21-year history, the Mountaineers are now 3-1-1 against ranked teams this year and 2-1-1 against top-10 opponents.
 

“Georgetown came in with a great game plan,” Izzo-Brown added. “I underestimated some of their forwards and what they were able to do. They found the back of the net, and we couldn’t.”

 
The Mountaineers owned a statistical edge throughout the match, outshooting the Hoyas 23-8, including a 4-0 edge in the first overtime. The Mountaineers also earned a 9-5 advantage in corner kicks.
 
WVU forced Georgetown’s Arielle Schechtman into eight saves, including five in the first half. Foster finished with three saves, the most saves for the Cambridge, Ontario, native since stopping nine chances in the team’s season opening 1-1 double-overtime draw at then-No. 2 Penn State on Aug. 19.
 
“Stats don’t win you games – it’s a whole lot of effort,” Izzo-Brown explained. “I think everyone is going to take Tuesday’s practice a lot more serious. We need to understand that it’s grind time. It’s going to be interesting moving into the Richmond game.” 
 
Damaska’s dagger came quickly after the opening whistle in the second overtime. The Hoyas earned immediate possession and forward Crystal Thomas had a shot 18 seconds into the period that sailed over the net. After exchanging surges, the Hoyas trapped senior Ashley Lawrence near midfield and kicked the ball ahead, where Damaska earned possession. With defender Easther Mayi Kith on her, she pushed ahead toward the baseline before planting left of the penalty line and letting her shot sail.
 
Damaska paced the Hoyas with two shots on-goal. The WVU defense denied Georgetown midfielder Rachel Corboz, the two-time reigning BIG EAST Player of the Week, a shot.
 
Junior forward Michaela Abam paced the field with six shots, but none landed on-frame. Sophomore forward Sh’Nia Gordon finished with a game-high three shots on-goal.
 
The Mountaineers’ best looks in overtime came near the end of the first extra period, as the squad earned back-to-back free kicks near the net, but the Hoyas pushed away any threat. 
 
Gordon worked hard to generate chances in the first half, finishing with four shots, two on-frame. She earned the first shot on-goal in the 11th minute, but her low attempt was stopped at the left goalpost by Schechtman.
 
The Mountaineers nearly capitalized on their solid passing in the 34th minute. Senior defender Kadeisha Buchanan worked the ball up the field. She found Lawrence near the top of the box, and after a move, she sent the ball out wide to Gordon. Gordon worked it down to the baseline, but her cross was tipped away for one of the team’s five corner kicks of the half.
 
WVU’s fifth corner of the half in the 44th minute looked lethal, as the ball bounced around before landing at Alli Magaletta’s feet, but her long, lofting shot was grabbed out of the air by Schechtman.
 
With the wind swirling inside the stadium throughout the second half, the Mountaineers placed several shots above the crossbar. Gordon had a great push toward the net in the 67th minute, as she received a well-placed through ball from Abam, but Schechtman elected to leave her line and stuffed Gordon at the right post.
 
Damaska had Georgetown’s best look in the second quarter, as she got her head on the Hoyas’ fifth and last corner kick in the 80th minute. The close-range attempt was met at the right post by Foster.
 
Despite the defeat, WVU retains a 14-4-2 edge in the all-time series with Georgetown.
 
The Mountaineers conclude their nonconference slate at Richmond on Friday, Sept. 23, with first kick from Robins Stadium set for 7:30 p.m.
 

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets including Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, and more. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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