MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Junior Frances Silva continued her stellar play and the West Virginia defense earned its fifth shutout of the season in a 1-0 win against seventh-ranked Oklahoma State Sunday afternoon at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
Silva scored a brilliant goal with 88 seconds remaining to give the Mountaineers their second win against a top-10 opponent. WVU has lost only one match since knocking off top-ranked Stanford on Aug. 26.
Defender Jess Crowder played a ball up to midfield where forward Kate Schwindel touched it on to Silva. Silva beat her defender and raced toward the goal, creating numbers in transition with forward Kelsie Maloney charging up the middle. Silva was able to cut the OSU center back at the top of the box and send a blast into the upper left corner for the game-winner.
“I just planted and gave it a little extra something and it went in,” Silva said of her game-winner. “I was waiting to see if their defender was going to step or not. I knew I had Kelsie on my left, but I think their goalkeeper was expecting me to play it to her, so I shot it.”
Silva, who scored her team-best eighth of the season, has scored seven goals in the last four matches. She became the fourth different Mountaineer to score a goal in four consecutive matches, and the first since Megan Mischler in 2010.
West Virginia finished with a 16-12 edge in shots, including a 9-3 advantage in shots on-goal. Silva led all players with six shots, while forward Megan Marchesano paced OSU with four.
The Mountaineer back line of Bry McCarthy, Leah Emaus, Mallory Smith and Crowder held the Cowgirls to only one shot on-goal in the second half, a long range attempt from Marchesano. Goalkeeper Sara Keane closed out a very good weekend with a clean sheet, making three saves.
After 45 minutes of scoreless soccer, WVU came out strong to open the second half, attacking the goal and sending two shots off the crossbar in the first minute. McCarthy pushed forward and drilled the crossbar on a shot from 25 yards out, before Silva rattled the pipes on a shot from the right corner of the 18-yard box.
“It was a slow start as maybe both teams were feeling it from Friday’s games,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “And we were feeling each other out, having never played each other.
“We felt good going into the half and made some adjustments. And give credit to our ladies for executing that game plan. It was a very good team effort.”
WVU kept possession in its offensive third for most of the second stanza, creating several scoring chances. Midfielder Bri Rodriguez forced OSU goalkeeper AD Franch into her sixth save on a shot at the near post in the 74th minute.
Franch kept the Mountaineers off the board just minutes later on a near goal from Maloney in the 77th minute. After an Oklahoma State foul, Smith drove a ball past a crowd of players in the box to Maloney on the back side. Maloney settled it and lifted a shot toward the right post that was denied by Franch’s one-hand diving stop.
“Franch was awesome and kept them in the game there for a little bit,” said Izzo-Brown. “I helped coach her with the Under 23 [U.S.] National Team, and she is as good as everyone says she is. We really challenged her, and I’m glad we found the back of the net.”
Franch, a two-time All-American, rejected WVU’s best scoring opportunity of the first half on a shot from Maloney in the 34th minute. Maloney beat a defender on the left side and struck a ball from 15 yards out that was taken out of the air by a diving Franch.
“Kelsie was a handful [Sunday],” said Izzo-Brown. “She created a few opportunities and really opened up the game by giving us another option.”
OSU’s best scoring chance came in late in the match as George Christine sent a header high of the goal in the 81st minute.
WVU moves to 6-3-3 on the season, 2-0-0 in Big 12 play. Oklahoma State falls to 9-3-0 overall, 0-2-0 in the Big 12.
At halftime, WVU assistant coach Marisa Kanela made a check presentation for $12,854 to the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. The WVU women’s soccer team has raised more than $85,000 in the past nine years to help fight breast cancer.