from WVU Athletic Department Report
Abraham Delivers Victory for No. 1 Mountaineers
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (October 14, 2016) – For the fourth time this season, sophomore forward Hannah Abraham (Albert Gallatin HS) came off the bench and delivered the game-winning score, as her goal in the 82nd minute pushed the No. 1-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory over Texas Tech tonight, in front of 2,068 fans at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
With the largest regular-season home crowd in WVU women’s soccer history behind their backs, the Mountaineers (13-1-1, 5-0) withstood multiple cruel misses off crossbars and posts to move their win streak to six. WVU is now unbeaten in its last 33 straight home matches, the third-longest active streak in the nation.
“I challenged our fan base today, and they responded in a big way,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “What energy and spirit! We heard them all game long – it was incredible.”
Abraham’s goal was a stunner. After receiving a nice through ball from senior midfielder Ashley Woolpert, the Prosperity, Pennsylvania, native carried it to the top of the box and let a shot go from 20-yards out that curved toward the upper right pocket. TTU goalkeeper Lauren Watson was able to get a hand on the ball, but she did nothing more than help direct it further into the net.
“I was just trying to get a shot off. I hit the crossbar in the first half, so I was feeling confident,” Abraham said of her goal. “I wanted that shot. I didn’t even see it go in – I don’t know how it went it. All I saw was Grace (Cutler) on top of me, so I knew I scored.”
All four of Abraham’s goals this season have been game-winning scores. Tonight’s tally was her second in four games and against a Big 12 Conference opponent. Abraham’s 2016 goal total now equals her output from 2015.
Also playing off the bench, Woolpert’s assist was the third of her career, with all three helpers coming this season.
“We hit two crossbars tonight. There were so many opportunities,” Izzo-Brown added. “In the game of soccer, there’s always a sense that maybe you’re going to have to buy one. I think everyone was happy Hannah was able to put one away.”
Tonight’s victory avenged the Mountaineers’ 1-0 loss to the Red Raiders (8-5-2, 1-4) on Nov. 6, at the 2015 Big 12 Soccer Championship. WVU has won the last three straight regular-season meetings and improves to 4-2 all-time against TTU.
“All the credit to Texas Tech – they had a game plan, and they tried to disrupt us,” Izzo-Brown said. “They put a lot of numbers behind the ball, and it was tough to find space. Our team just kept going, going and going. We talked a lot about the ‘iron will’ and finding a way, and Hannah did just that off the ball from Ashley Woolpert. It was awesome.”
The Mountaineers finished with a 29-5 edge in shots and forced Watson into eight saves. TTU only placed one shot on-frame, a first-half attempt by Cassie Boren in the 33rd minute that was easily saved by Rylee Foster, the reigning Big 12 Freshman of the Week, for the team’s ninth shutout of the season. WVU has played 484:53 minutes of shutout soccer since allowing a penalty kick at Richmond in a 4-1 win on Sept. 23.
With the victory, Foster improves to 10-1-1 on the year. She and the Mountaineer defense have not allowed an opponent goal in conference play this season, and no Big 12 team has registered more than two shots on-goal against WVU in five matches.
The Mountaineers also finished with a 6-1 edge in corner kicks.
Though the final score was close, WVU was the more dominant team for the full 90 minutes.
The Mountaineers looked dangerous in the 37th minute, with Abraham right in the mix. She sent the first look in, but her shot from 25 out slammed off the crossbar. Off the deflection, WVU worked the ball up to senior midfielder Ashley Lawrence, but her shot from just outside the 18-yard box was pushed away by Watson. WVU then worked the ball back into Abraham, but her sliding shot from 10-yards out went wide of the right post.
In a game where only saw 15 combined fouls were called, TTU’s final look of the first half came off a free kick in the 43rd minute, but defender Rebekah O’Brien’s long attempt went wide of the left post.
WVU opened the second half with a flurry of chances. Senior defender Kadeisha Buchanan headed in a corner kick in the 50th minute, but it was blocked by the Red Raider defense. Junior midfielder Alli Magaletta pounced on the ball, but her immediate shot also was blocked. Junior forward Michaela Abam finished the series with a long shot, but it sailed over the net.
Just three minutes later, Lawrence looked to score the decisive goal, as she worked the ball into the box, but her shot from distance pinged off the crossbar.
Watson came up big for TTU in the 68th minute, as she pushed away a shot by junior defender Amandine Pierre-Louis at the left post. She was not able to secure the ball, though, and it trickled along the goal line before a Red Raider finally kicked it away. Just over a minute later, Watson stood her ground and saved a lofting floater by Buchanan.
Following Abraham’s goal, Lawrence looked to add an insurance score in the 85th minute, but her attempt from outside the box was scooped up by Watson.
Junior forward Michaela Abam finished with a game-high eight shots.
The Mountaineers’ 21-season program win total now stands at 299, with all victories credited to Izzo-Brown.
WVU returns to the road next weekend for its final regular-season matches away from Morgantown. First stop is Fort Worth, Texas, as the Mountaineers will play at TCU on Friday, Oct. 21, with first kick set for 8 p.m. ET.
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