MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - Western Carolina women's soccer (0-1) pushed No. 20 West Virginia (1-1) to its limits before falling to the Mountaineers 2-1 Sunday at Dick Diesk Field.
West Virginia probably felt a sense of scary déjà vu in the match Sunday. The Mountaineers were still reeling from a 2-1 loss to LaSalle on Friday. West Virginia took an early 1-0 lead against LaSalle before giving up two goals to drop its home opener.
Just like on Friday night, West Virginia took the early lead, scoring at the 16:26 mark in the first half. Kailey Utley got the Mountaineers on the board when she managed to get behind Chrissie White in a one vs. one battle and slipped the ball past Jacobs from 16 yards out.
Western Carolina had three great looks at goal in the opening frame but could not convert. In the 27th minute Laura Greb got in behind the WVU back line and slotted a brilliant ball to the slashing Samantha Hodge got a great look about six yards out. However the WVU center back slid and got a piece of the shot and send it just inches wide of the left post. The Catamounts continued to press but could not get the equalizer.
Clinging to a 1-0 lead, West Virginia would feel the sting of a tie in the middle of the second half. The Catamounts turned up the pressure and got a great look at the goal by senior Greb but her shot was just off at the 61:18 minute mark.
A few seconds later, Western Carolina got another great look at the goal and this time the mark rang true. Freshman forward Markie-Lynn Studnicky scored the first goal of her collegiate career as she stepped in front of the defender and beat the goalkeeper one vs. one with a great composed finish.
"I was really proud of our effort today after being down a goal at the half and responding with a goal to level the game," said Head Coach Chad Miller. "We continue to learn and grow as a group and take away a lot from this game to apply moving forward."
With the game knotted at one, West Virginia was staring down the possibility of a repeat scenario like it had against LaSalle and Western Carolina was vying for an upset. In the end, West Virginia would stave back any repeat performances and Western Carolina would end the game just a hair's breathe from a major upset.
Western Carolina missed a golden chance to take the lead on West Virginia late in the second half. At the 77:56 mark Greb saw freshman Amanda Schwartz at the top of the box and passed the ball to her. Scwartz took the shot and it just missed the goal going wide left. Another great chance came in the 72nd minute when Katie Salmon slipped a pass in behind the back for to a charging Hodge who got her feet tangled and didn't get off a shot from 10 yards out.
"I thought today in the attacking third we showed a lot of growth from last year and were unfortunate not to get another goal with at least five great looks," Miller said.
The Mountaineers came away with the 2-1 victory thanks to Kate Schwindel who kicked the ball in from the top of the box and was deflected to the opposite side of the goal hitting the post and in for the winner.
West Virginia took 10 shots on frame for the match and the Catamounts had five. Catamount senior goalie Katie Jacbos ended the match with 8 saves.
Western Carolina continues its three-match road swing on Friday, August 24, when the Catamounts travel to Charlotte. Match time is set for 7 p.m.