The No. 12-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team dominated possession and scored a pair of goals in the second half to tally a 2-0 win over Oklahoma, on Saturday afternoon at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown.
Despite both teams going scoreless in the first half, freshman forward Dilary Heredia-Beltran earned the game winner just 20 minutes into the second period, off an assist form junior defender Gabrielle Robinson. Sophomore midfielder Lilly McCarthy added a second goal for the Mountaineers, while freshman forward Lisa Schöppl recorded her first points of the season, earning credit for the helper on McCarthy’s score.
“I thought the team really came together in the second half,” WVU coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “I thought everybody really recognized where we had to make some adjustments. We were able to find the win, and it was a big win for us because Oklahoma has a very good side.”
The first half saw a lot of back-and-forth action from both teams, as only five total shots were recorded in the first 45 minutes. The Mountaineers’ biggest chance of the half came when a shot from junior forward/defender Julianne Vallerand drew the keeper away from the net, leaving the Sooners’ defense to make the team save. However, WVU couldn’t convert on the empty net opportunity, and the teams played on. Despite WVU’s trio of corner kicks inside the final 20 minutes, the two teams went into the locker room knotted at 0-0.
In the second half, the West Virginia offense took control, dominating possession and making the Sooner defense fend of several Mountaineer opportunities. However, the Mountaineers continued to struggle to find the finish, despite forcing OU keeper Nikki Panas to make a pair of saves. WVU finally found the back of the net in the 64th minute when Robinson found Heredia-Beltran up the far side. The Wichita, Kansas, native weaved in and out of OU traffic, before sending a shot from just outside the box and into the goal.
From there, the Mountaineers seemed to find their rhythm, fending off any chance the Sooners had to take the ball to their attacking third. In the 76th minute, WVU got fancy in front of the net, passing the ball in and out of the penalty area. Eventually, Schöppl found McCarthy at the top, who squared up and sent it in for the insurance score to give WVU the 2-0 victory.
West Virginia dominated every statistical category, leading the Sooners 16-2 in shots, as well as 7-1 in shots on goal. The Mountaineers earned four corner kick opportunities on the afternoon, while they didn’t allow the OU offense to earn any, marking the third time this season the WVU defense has held its opponent to zero corner kicks. West Virginia also tallied its sixth clean sheet of the year, as junior goalkeeper Kayza Massey added one routine save in the contest.
With the victory, West Virginia improves to 12-0-1 in the series with the Sooners, as well as 34-4-2 all-time in home, Big 12 matches.
Next up, the Mountaineers travel to Manhattan, Kansas, for their first road test of the Big 12 Conference season, as they take on Kansas State on Thursday, Oct. 7. Kickoff at KSU’s Buser Family Park is tabbed for 8 p.m. ET.