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Seniors lead PSU, WVU to 1st rd NCAA wins; Morgantown to host 2nd & 3rd round action next weekend

Photo courtesy Penn State athletics

Seniors lead PSU, WVU to 1st rd NCAA wins; Morgantown to host 2nd & 3rd round action next weekend

From Penn State and West Virginia University reports

Two nationally ranked women’s teams in our region had solid starts to their NCAA tournament, and are now one win away from facing each other again in the big dance.

In Morgantown, No. 8-ranked and second-seeded West Virginia University women’s soccer team and  had no trouble in its first-round NCAA tournament match on Saturday, beating Radford, 6-0, and will now play host to second- and third-round matches in the 2018 NCAA Tournament on Nov. 16 and 18, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

Meanwhile, at State College four different, senior goal-scorers propelled Penn State women’s team to a lopsided 4-1 win over Bowling Green in a rain-soaked match-up.

“It’s appropriate for this [senior] class,”  Erica Dambach, Penn State’s coach, said. “These guys wear their hearts on their sleeves, and I want the world for them.”

Midfielders Charlotte Williams, Marissa Sheva and Emily Ogle, as well as defender Alina Ortega Jurado, all found the back of the net in their final match at Jeffrey Field. The seniors, along with the rest of the squad, dominated the Falcons from start to finish.

“I’m so happy to continue on and get another week with these guys,” Dambach said. “[I’m] just really proud of this senior class.”

The victory is Dambach’s 200th at Penn State, with the accomplishment spanning her 12 years at the helm. As usual, Dambach recognized it takes an elite coaching staff to experience this type of sustained success.

“It’s special, each one of these wins are special,” Dambach said. “[I’m] just really thankful for the people that I’ve been around during my time here.”

On a very cold day in Morgantown on Saturday, the result was also never in question, as sophomore forward Lauren Segalla notched the game-winner 9:16 into the match, and senior forward Sh’Nia Gordon capitalized on confusion and added the first of five insurance goals just two minutes later.

“I’ve been leaning on seniors all year, and this was an incredible opportunity for a lot of our seniors to step-up tonight and to continue our shut-out (streak) against an excellent Radford team,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “It wasn’t easy for us, but we were able to find the back of the net. A lot of that is attributed to the focus and hard work of our seniors.”

The Mountaineers’ goal output is a season high and bests their previous tournament record of five goals, tallied in a 5-2 victory over Loyola Marymount in the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

The Mountaineers (15-4-3, 7-2) will face Wake Forest (9-8-1, 4-6 ACC) in the second of two matches Friday night, with kick set at 6 p.m.

No. 18-ranked and third-seeded South Carolina (14-5-1, 6-3-1 SEC) will kick against No. 14-ranked Penn State (16-5-1, 9-2 Big Ten) at 3 p.m. in the first contest.

The winners of Friday’s matches will meet Sunday in the third round at 3 p.m.

The 2018 Big 12 Soccer Champions, WVU advances to the tournament’s second round for the fourth consecutive season and the 13th time in program history.

TICKET INFORMATION FOR SECOND/THIRD ROUND GAMES 

Tickets for Friday’s matches will go on sale at WVUGAME.com at 9 a.m. tomorrow. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for students and youth and $3 for groups of 10 or more. WVU students will be admitted for free with a valid WVU Student I.D. One ticket is good for both matches.

To provide a safer environment for Mountaineer fans and to expedite entry into all ticket WVU athletic events, the West Virginia Department of Intercollegiate Athletics enforces the NFL’s Clear Bag Policy. The athletic department invites and encourages fans to visit WVUsports.com/clearbag for more information, to view pictures of permissible and non-permissible items and to obtain answers to frequently asked questions about the clear bag policy.

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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