MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- No. 8 West Virginia is one step closer to securing its third consecutive Big 12 Conference regular-season title, as the Mountaineers came from behind and defeated Oklahoma State 2-1 in double-overtime Friday night at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
Junior forward Kailey Utley scored both goals, including the golden-goal in the 103rd minute, to give the Mountaineers (12-2-2-, 5-0-1) their first overtime victory of the season and push their unbeaten streak to 13 matches. WVU has not dropped a home conference contest in 24 consecutive matches.
“Kailey did not miss one workout all summer, and it paid off tonight,” said Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “She was unbelievable.”
The Mountaineers put on an impressive performance this evening despite playing without the service of sophomores Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence, as the duo was called up by the Canadian National Team for a pair of friendlies. WVU finished with a 31-14 edge in shots, including an 8-2 advantage in overtime, and denied OSU a corner kick opportunity, marking the second time in as many weeks a WVU opponent failed to earn a corner kick.
“This team is so determined,” Izzo-Brown said. “If you looked up the word ‘resilient’ in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of this team. We had some obstacles all week that we were dealing with, but so many people stepped up tonight. I’m so proud of this team and what they were able to do against a hungry Oklahoma State. We were not going to leave without three points.
“Everyone did her job tonight. I can’t give credit to just one person – this was a total team win. It was unbelievable.”
Utley’s golden goal was the result of a brilliant individual effort, as she pounced on a failed OSU clearance from the corner and took a blast from the penalty-kick line that beat the Cowgirls’ Rosa Medina to the far right post for her second game-winner of the season. Tonight was the first career two-goal performance for the St. Louis native, who now shows four goals on the season.
“It was pretty exciting to pull through for my team,” Utley said. “We deserved to win, so I was pretty happy to see the ball go in.”
After 78 minutes of scoreless play, both squads tallied goals in the 79th minute.
OSU struck first, as midfielder Allie Stephenson jumped on a loose ball in front of the Mountaineers’ net and beat junior Hannah Steadman with a short shot to the near left post.
WVU did not take long to answer, as Utley tallied her first score of the evening 49 seconds later. Junior midfielder Cari Price was brilliant on the set-up, sending a deep cross to Utley inside the box, who one-timed her shot past Medina to the far right post.
“There were only 11 minutes remaining after OSU scored, and we knew a lot was riding on this game,” Utley said of the Mountaineers’ brief deficit. “We pulled it together quickly and got that goal. Cari sent in a perfect ball, and I just timed it right.”
The Mountaineers are only the second team in 12 matches to score two goals on the Cowgirls (9-8-1, 4-2-1). WVU improves to 12-0 on the season when scoring two or more goals in a game. Additionally, the Mountaineers move to 4-0 all-time against OSU.
Steadman finished the game with three saves, while Medina turned away 11 in a losing effort.
“I’m so proud of our back line,” said sophomore defender Carly Black. “We knew we had to be extra organized tonight, and everyone stepped it up and played well. Hannah came up with huge saves – I think this was one of her best games. Everyone understood what was on the line tonight, and we all came out and did our jobs.”
Utley finished with a game-best eight shots, five on-frame. Senior forward Kate Schwindel also placed five shots on-goal, and redshirt-freshman forward Amandine Pierre-Louis added two.
OSU was paced by Stephenson’s four shots.
WVU came within inches of avoiding overtime, as a deep shot from junior midfielder Leah Emaus in the 83rd minute was dropped by Medina at the goal line but somehow did not trickle into the net for the score.
Schwindel nearly gave the Mountaineers the win in the 95th minute, as the reigning Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week turned with the ball inside the 18-yard line and took a shot that Medina met at the far right post.
Though it didn’t go down as a save, Steadman made a key decision in the 96th minute. With a charging Madison Mercado flying down the field, Stedman left her line and laid out at the top of the box, pushing the ball out of Mercado’s path and extending play.
The first half was played between the 18s, as both teams worked to generate an offensive push. Steadman was called into action early, as OSU registered two shots in the first 25 seconds, including a chance from Laurene Tresfield that was turned away by the Kinnelon, New Jersey, native.