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Stahl’s brace sends WVU women into 2nd Round of NCAA tournament

Sophomore forward Alina Stahl registered two first-half goals to lead the West Virginia University women’s soccer team past No. 25 Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, at Shaw Field in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

The win pushes WVU into the NCAA Tournament Second Round for the fifth consecutive season and the 14th time in program history. West Virginia will take on Central Connecticut State on Friday, Nov. 16. The starting time and location will be announced later tonight.

“I’m so proud of this team and the way they played today,” Coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “It’s easy to pick out heroes in the match with Alina (Stahl) and Rylee’s (Foster) performances today, but every single player on this team was a hero today and did what they needed to do for us to get a win.”

Stahl gave WVU an early lead after she took a pass from junior midfielder Stefany Ferrer-vanGinkel just outside the six-yard line. Stahl then chipped in a shot that was blocked by Georgetown’s goalkeeper Anna Leat at point-blank range. With Stahl and Leat laying on the ground, Stahl got to one knee and fired the rebound into the left side of the net to give West Virginia an early advantage.

WVU doubled the lead in the 40th minute courtesy of another goal by Stahl. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native, accepted a pass from sophomore Lizzie Mayfield, spun and fired a hard shot from 10-yards out that landed in the right side of the net.

Stahl’s brace gives her a team-high seven goals this season. She also paces the Mountaineers with 16 points on the year.

The Mountaineers held a 2-0 advantage at the half despite being outshot 7-4 by the Hoyas.

Stahl’s importance to West Virginia’s lead in the first half was mirrored by senior goalkeeper Rylee Foster’s effort to maintain the shutout in the second half.

Foster registered five saves to fight off a ruthless Georgetown offensive attack that included 12 GU shots and eight corners.

Georgetown’s largest threat to cut the lead in the second half came in the 79th and 80th minutes as the Hoyas put together back-to-back corner kicks that required diving saves from Foster.

The shutout marks the eighth clean sheet of the year for the Mountaineer defense and the seventh of the year for Foster. Foster has registered 39 shutouts in her career, which is second in program history.

With the win, WVU improves to 21-17-5 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and 12-5-2 in the first round. The Mountaineers now hold a 16-6-2 advantage over the Hoyas in the series.

Dating back to 2013, the Mountaineers have won 43 of its last 44 matches when scoring two goals in a match.

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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