10:06am: Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval

Mountaineers, Indiana battle to scoreless draw in season opener

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia’s women’s soccer team was hardly threatened by Indiana in Thursday’s season-opening match at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, they couldn’t muster any offense themselves and the teams battled to a scoreless draw in their first meeting.

“Indiana came out with a great game plan, and unfortunately we didn’t have urgency until the 70th minute of the game,” West Virginia head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “We need to do a better job with that.”

West Virginia had 12 of the game’s 15 shot attempts, including four of the five that made it on goal. Hoosiers’ keeper Jamie Gerstenberg was up to the task all evening, however, and had four of the game’s five saves, with the other going to WVU keeper Kayza Massey.

One of the Mountaineers’ better scoring chances came with just outside 15 minutes to play when Chloe Adler and and Taylor White worked a give and go. Adler initially fed White just outside the 18-yard box, before getting the ball back at close range, only to not get much on a shot that Gerstenberg stopped with little difficulty.

Aaliyah Scott later had a quality chance from in close off a crossing feed, but didn’t get the shot off clean and it missed the mark by a wide margin.

“At some point, we want Chloe Edler to take that [initial] shot. You don’t want a give and go inside the 6, but she created the opportunity for us, so coach is happy about that. Aaliyah Scott, being a senior, has to bury that one, but she extended her run and made the effort. Those two I’d like to get back. I think those were two goals.”

West Virginia forward Dilary Heredia-Beltran generated several scoring chances for her team and led all players with three shot attempts, while consistently using her speed to maintain possession.

“The way they were playing really allowed some space on those ends and she took it really well and has such confidence to get forward and create chances,” Izzo-Brown said. “I’d love to see her mileage tonight.”

As for what Izzo-Brown viewed as a lack of urgency from her team for much of the match, the veteran head coach wants to see the Mountaineers become more consistent in their approach.

“I said to the team, ‘you guys worked hard and two things I’m going to leave you with — did we compete for every ball and did we have urgency to do our job?’ It wasn’t consistent enough and that’s the hunt. To win games, you have to be consistent and finish those chances.”

West Virginia doesn’t have to wait long for its next opportunity, which comes at 1 p.m. Sunday when the Mountaineers welcome Saint Joseph’s.

“I look forward to Sunday, turning that around and getting back out here,” Izzo-Brown said. “What a great crowd tonight. Hopefully we didn’t disappoint them and they saw a good match.”

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