BLACKSBURG, Va. – West Virginia’s No. 7-ranked women’s soccer team hadn’t allowed a goal in four postseason matches. But when No. 4 Virginia Tech pushed one through in the 58th minute Friday night, it wound up ending WVU’s season.
Murielle Tiernan received a cross from Taylor Antolino in the 59th minute and scored past Mountaineers keeper Sara Keane, the goal that made the difference in the Hokies’ 1-0 win in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Big 12-champion Mountaineers (16-4-3) had a chance for an equalizer three minutes later, when defender Maggie Bedillion received a ball as she ran full speed down the left side. She fired a shot from 17 yards out that slipped past Virginia Tech goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts only to trickle wide of the far goalpost.
“I told this team at the end of the match that we’ve accomplished so much this season, but it was what we overcame that was more important,” says Mountaineers coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “The character the players displayed, and who stepped up as leaders, is what we will build off of and go forward with.
“I’ve been in the business for over 20 years, and this team will go down in the record book and in my heart for its resiliency.”
Virginia Tech (18-4-2), the top-seeded team in the regional, advanced to the Sweet 16 after tallying an 8-5 shot advantage and a 6-1 edge in corner kicks. The Hokies host No. 9 Santa Clara on Sunday.
“We just wanted to disrupt Virginia Tech as best we could,” said Izzo-Brown. “We had a lot of respect for them coming in to the match, and we just tried to compress them where we could.”
Following a scoreless first half that saw a combined four shots from the two teams, the Hokies began to apply a heavy pressure in the 58th minute, with a shot blocked and another hitting the crossbar in the span of 40 seconds. Though the WVU defense withstood the initial attack, Virginia Tech capitalized on Tiernan’s score.
“I don’t think it was a very pretty first half for either team,” said Virginia Tech Chugger Adair. “Nobody really generated much going forward. But the second half was much better. It was more exciting, it had some much better soccer and we scored a great team goal.”
Neither team registered a shot until the 18th minute, when WVU midfielder Tessa Broadwater got a clear look from 15 yards out. Forward Kelsie Maloney got a quick touch on the ball, sending it to Broadwater wide of the box, where she blasted a shot into the arms of Colpitts, who registered her 10th shutout of the season.
The match was the final collegiate completion for Keane, Silva and midfielders Caroline Szwed and Kara Blosser. Silva graduates fourth in the program record book with 98 career points and 38 career goals. Keane’s 27 career shutouts rank No. 3 all-time at WVU.