The No. 21-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team fell, 2-0, to No. 21 Penn State at Jeffrey Field in University Park, Pennsylvania, on Thursday night.
Despite senior goalkeeper Kayza Massey’s slew of impressive saves in the first half, the Penn State attack wore down West Virginia (1-1-1, 0-0 Big 12) in the second half to score two goals and secure the win.
Penn State got a couple of good looks early, earning a free kick just outside the top of the box in the seventh minute, but Massey did her job to make the stop. She was tested again in the 23rd minute as PSU broke down West Virginia’s back line for another quality look, but the Ottawa, Ontario, native stuck out a hand to make the last-second save.
West Virginia’s best opportunity of the first half came off a free kick at the top of the box in the 41st minute. Fifth-year senior defender Jordan Brewster took the free kick and sent a rocket straight toward goal that was narrowly stopped by the PSU keeper. The match remained scoreless as the two teams went into halftime.
The Mountaineers seemed to have better control of possession in the opening minutes of the second half, creating a quality chance in the 48th minute. Senior defender Julianne Vallerand sent a shot that was blocked, but it drew the PSU keeper away from the net. Junior midfielder Lilly McCarthy took the rebound shot towards an empty net, but what looked to be a sure goal was knocked out by the Nittany Lion defense at the last second.
Despite West Virginia’s offensive pressure to open the half, PSU took the lead 10 minutes later on a goal off a long volley from midfield. The Mountaineers only got one more shot off before PSU added to its lead in the 72nd minute on header off a corner kick. From there, West Virginia tried to fight back, but it wasn’t enough, and they fell to Penn State, 2-0.
In the final stats, Penn State outshot West Virginia, 17-9, while it recorded a 7-4 lead in corner kicks. It was a physical match, with 14 fouls called on the two sides. Sophomore forward Dilary Heredia-Beltran was shown a pair of yellow cards in the match, causing her to be waved off with a red card in the 85th minute and leave West Virginia with only 10 players to finish the match. Despite allowing a pair of goals, Massey had an impressive showing with six saves, one shy of her career best.
With the win, Penn State extended its advantage in the all-time series to 11-7-3, including 7-3-2 in University Park.
West Virginia now returns home to finish out the weekend, playing host to Saint Francis (Pa.) on Sunday, Aug. 28, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown. The match is slated for 1 p.m. ET, and is Youth Soccer Day, with free admission for youth in eighth grade and younger wearing a youth soccer jersey. The Mountaineers also will host a postgame youth clinic and participants will be entered to win a signed WVU women’s soccer game jersey.