"Anytime you beat a team like Penn State, it's a huge win," WVU head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. "We have so much respect for them and to beat a big-time program on the road is great for our team. I'm proud of the way we came in and battled all game."
West Virginia (5-0) junior Natalie Cocchi put the Mountaineers ahead 1-0 late in the first half in the 43rd minute. Cocchi got the ball on a rebound and shot the ball into heavy traffic as it deflected off of Lisa DuCote past Penn State keeper Alyssa Naeher. It was Cocchi's third goal of the season.
Leading 1-0, West Virginia forward Deana Everrett added another score early in the second half with a goal in the 50th minute. Everrett sprinted past the defense to receive Amanda Cicchini's pass and beat Naeher to the left corner of the net. Penn State (1-2-2) bounced back when Aubrey Aden-Buie put the Nittany Lions back in the game by heading home Heather Tomko's cross in the 64th minute. But WVU survived a late surge by Penn State to preserve the upset, 2-1.
WVU dominated the first half of play, with six shots on goal while the Nittany Lions couldn't manage to get any of their six shot tries on goal. Everrett had three of West Virginia's best scoring opportunities in the opening 45 minutes. The sophomore had two one-on-one chances against Naeher and also hit the crossbar on a shot in the 15th minute. Everrett finished the game with four of the team's 16 shots. Naeher tallied six saves for Penn State, while Mountaineer keeper Lana Bannerman recorded two saves on 13 shots.
WVU is off to its best start in school history. The Mountaineers began the 1997 season 4-0 but fell to Notre Dame 3-0 in their fifth game. West Virginia returns to Morgantown to take on St. Bonaventure on Sunday, Sept. 10, at 12:30 p.m., at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
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The West Virginia men's soccer team used a pair of goals in the second half to defeat Cincinnati 2-0 in its BIG EAST opener on Friday night at Dick Dlesk Stadium.
The Mountaineers (4-0-1, 1-0-0) fended off a pair off dangerous opportunities by the Bearcats (2-2-1, 0-1-0) in the first half with diving saves by senior goalkeeper Nick Noble. WVU also had a promising chance late in the half as Andy Wright was alone with goalkeeper Mike Vessells, however, Vessells was able to get enough of the ball sliding out to stop Wright in his tracks and end the scoring threat.
Jarrod Smith put the Mountaineers on the board in the 53rd minute when he collected a rebound off of Vessells and buried it in the back of the net for his second goal of the season. With less than seven minutes remaining in the match freshman Ryan Gillespie scored his first career goal when Smith saw the Landstown, Va., native streaking down the left side and laid a cross in to him, which he booted past Vessells to give WVU a 2-0 lead. Noble ended the match with five saves on the evening, while Vessells tallied three in a losing effort.
West Virginia is now undefeated through its first five matches for only the third time in school history. In 1975, the Mountaineers started out 5-0 before losing, while the 1968 team cruised to an 8-0-1 regular season record before losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Saint Louis.
Friday's match was the second consecutive that the Mountaineers have been out shot by their opponent and won. WVU returns to action on Sunday, Sept. 10, when it hosts Louisville at DDSS. Kickoff is 3 p.m.