Izzy Sibley gave West Virginia the edge in the final minutes as the No. 4 Mountaineers stole its second straight top-10 win over No. 10 Virginia on Saturday, 1-0 in Morgantown.
Sibley found the back of the net in the 86th minute off of a feed from Lilly McCarthy to break a hard-fought deadlock. That’s the Uxbridge, England native’s second goal of both the spring and the season, after netting another against Duke on Saturday.
“I was worried about this game. There’s always the hangover game, you know you beat top-notch Duke, and then you’ve got to turn around and match that performance,” said WVU coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “Coaches, we’re always a little bit worried and that was a great performance. They started a little slow, but they found a way to win.”
This match had the trappings of an NCAA Tournament clash as both squads looked to bolster their respective resumes. West Virginia hoped to ride the momentum from its previous top-five win over Duke, while the Cavaliers aimed for their first ranked victory of the spring as its slate comes to a close.
Virginia seized on its hunger and took momentum early. It dominated possession in the first half and sent three shots towards the net, but none were able to test WVU goalkeeper Kayza Massey.
The pendulum began to swing right before halftime as the Mountaineers started cutting down on turnovers and getting the ball in their attacking third, and by the second half, the field was tilted in WVU’s favor.
“I was just really pleased with the no-quit mentality, especially against an incredible Virginia team,” Izzo-Brown said.
West Virginia registered six shots in the second half, three of which hit the net — but it was the penultimate shot on goal from Sibley that broke the deadlock, off assists from McCarthy and Lauren Segalla.
“I don’t think the keeper had a chance — it was a perfectly-placed upper-90 kind of finish,” Izzo-Brown said. “It was incredibly for Sibley, another great finish for Sibs and I’m just so happy for her and this team that they could grind it out and find the win.”
The Mountaineers stay undefeated for the spring with three wins, and hand the Cavaliers their first loss since falling to No. 1 North Carolina in the ACC Tournament semifinals in November. The two squads are set for a rematch on April 10 in Charlottesville.
“There were some moments where Virginia was moving the ball way too well with us,” Izzo-Brown said. “You can’t give a team time and space like Virginia, so we’ve definitely gotta watch a lot of video and make some adjustments and just make sure that the players understand the importance of it.”