KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After suffering a costly draw against Texas Tech two weeks ago, No. 5 West Virginia showed its dominance late in the Big 12 tournament rematch.
Heather Kaleiohi delivered the go-ahead goal in the 68th minute and then facilitated an insurance score as the Mountaineers won Wednesday night’s quarterfinal 3-1.
“I liked our tempo of play tonight. Everyone came ready and everyone was battling,” West Virginia coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “Everyone showed that they wanted to win tonight. It’s postseason, and they sent a message – they were ready to go.”
The Mountaineers’ (15-3-1, 7-1-1), denied a sixth consecutive regular-season title because of their 1-1 home draw against Texas Tech on Oct. 19, entered the tournament as the second seed.
Knotted in a 1-1 battle again at the Swope Soccer Village, the senior forward Kaleiohi split two defenders before pushing the ball ahead and firing a shot from 15 yards out that hugged the near post.
In the 83rd minute, Kaleiohi chased a ball to the sideline and kept it in play before sending a cross to Grace Cutler, who tapped the ball left to Michaela Abam. The team’s top scorer settled it above the box before sending a hard shot toward the right post for her eighth goal of the year and 40th overall.
“At halftime, we talked about moving the ball and taking care of the ball,” Izzo-Brown said. “We had to find the small spaces because Texas Tech was closing us down defensively. I credit the girls and the extra efforts they took to be patient around the net but also persistent. They made sure we didn’t give the ball away.”
The Mountaineers jumped ahead in the 16th minute when Alli Magaletta went unmarked on Carla Portillo’s corner kick and headed it into the net for her fifth goal of the season. The Red Raiders (9-7-4, 2-4-3) answered in the 28th minute on their own corner kick as Mary Heiberger struck amid a cluster of defenders.
West Virginia’s Rylee Foster made two saves — the biggest in the 58th minute, laying out along the line to stop a low shot from Texas Tech’s leading g scorer Ally Griffin.
WVU finished with a commanding 25-4 edge in shots.
In Friday night’s semifinal, the Mountaineers will face third-seeded TCU, which won on penalty kicks over No. 6 seed Kansas.