MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 15-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team completed its nonconference slate with a 2-1 win over Kent State at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium on Sunday afternoon in Morgantown.
Senior defender Jordan Brewster used a penalty kick opportunity in the first half to put the Mountaineers (6-2-1) on the board, but it was redshirt senior forward Lauren Segalla’s 61st-minute strike that made the difference in the match. The West Virginia defense just missed the shutout after Kent State was able to convert a penalty kick in the final minute of the match. Brewster’s PK was her second of the season, while Segalla’s score was the sixth game winner of her career.
“This game was tough,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “Kent State was very organized. They didn’t play on Thursday, so they had a good week to train for us and did a great job disrupting us. However, we got out of here with a big win. Obviously, there was a lot of frustration toward the end, but that’s part of the game.”
West Virginia’s first big opportunity came in the 17th minute off the boot of junior defender Nicole Payne, who took a great dish from Segalla inside the box. Payne squared up, but her shot was just outside the near post.
It was Brewster’s penalty kick goal that made the difference in the first half, as she took the opportunity after senior midfielder Isabella Sibley was taken down by a KSU defender inside the box. Following Brewster’s goal, the Mountaineers and Golden Flash traded off possession for the remainder of the half, and West Virginia took the one-goal lead into the locker room.
To open the second 45 minutes, WVU tallied a trio of shots on frame from sophomore midfielder Lilly McCarthy, Sibley and Segalla, but each was saved by Kent State goalie Sarah Melen. Finally, in the 61st minute, Segalla was able to find the back of the net with a header off a well-placed cross from freshman forward Dilary Heredia-Beltran. From there, the two teams seemed to lose urgency until the 89th minute when Brewster was whistled for a crowd-raising foul inside the box. In the second penalty kick opportunity of the match, this time for the visitors, KSU’s Cameron Shedenhelm buried the PK to rob the Mountaineers from the shutout, but WVU ultimately went home with the victory.
West Virginia recorded 19 shots to go along with nine shots on goal and 11 corner kicks. The Mountaineer defense was able to hold KSU to just three shots on goal and one corner kick. Junior goalkeeper Kayza Massey added three saves on the afternoon, just missing the shutout. Also of note, Kent State was whistled for 14 fouls and three yellow cards, while WVU was called for just seven fouls.
With the win, WVU took a 1-0 lead in the series, as the teams met for the first time in program history on Sunday. Kent State became West Virginia’s 116th all-time opponent. Additionally, freshman defender Ruby Darling recorded her first game action for the Mountaineers against the Golden Flash.
Next week, the Mountaineers open up Big 12 Conference play, hosting Iowa State on Friday, Sept. 24. Kickoff at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown is set for 7 p.m. ET.