No. 7 West Virginia defeats Baylor in hard-nosed battle

Gold and Blue Nation

West Virginia women’s soccer moves to 5-1-0 on the season after taking down the Baylor Bears in a tough match in Morgantown, 2-1.

Stefany Ferrer-vanGinkel’s late goal was the deciding factor for the Mountaineers, who had to hold off a late comeback from the Bears, who brought the physicality to Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

That physicality showed up early in the first half. Both teams were whistled for a total of six fouls before a single stat was registered, four of which went against Baylor and two against WVU. Shortly afterwards, though, the Mountaineers started knocking on the door.

West Virginia registered four shots on net after two of which came from Alina Stahl — but she wasn’t finished. Stahl netted the first goal of the game for the Mountaineers in the 36th minute off an assist from Lauren Segalla, her second score of the season. That gave West Virginia the 1-0 lead that they would eventually take to the locker room.

“Any athletic event is about momentum, and that momentum was huge for us to put that ball away,” said head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “We had a couple of opportunities and to have a Lauren to Alina finish was incredible.”

Starting the second half, Ferrer-vanGinkel began knocking on the door herself, registering a pair of shots on net — but they were both saved by BU’s Jennifer Wandt, who registered 7 saves on the night. The third time would be the charm for Ferrer-vanGinkel, as she found the back of the net in the 68th minute with help from Gabby Robinson.

The physical play on both sides stayed pertinent throughout the match. Both squads combined for 21 fouls — 10 for West Virginia and 11 for Baylor — but neither team received a single booking. Through the tough play, Izzo-Brown did her best to keep the composure of her players.

“I tried to handle the ref as best I could and obviously you heard me a lot with him tonight because there were some outrageous calls,” she said. “…But, that’s okay. The ref was doing the best he could, and no complaints here. I just didn’t want my players to get hurt.”

As the clock wound down, the match turned into a nail-biter for the Mountaineers. Elizabeth Kooiman got the Bears on the board in the 85th minute, which caused her team to pick up the urgency — but it was too little, too late, as West Virginia held on for the victory.

West Virginia could have ostensibly scored much more, however. The Mountaineers registered 12 total shots, nine of which were on net — including several point-blank tries that were either saved by Wandt or otherwise missed.

“This is exactly what I said to the team, I said, ‘You know, I am so proud of the chances we’re creating, and now we have to have the composure to finish,'” Izzo-Brown said. “Alina’s finish was incredible and so was Pinto [Ferrer-vanGinkel’s], but I thought at least if not two, three more of those.”

The first place and seventh-ranked Mountaineers are back in action on Oct. 23 when they hit the road to face Oklahoma.

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