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NCAA Game of the Week: WVU defeats Oklahoma State, 1-0, for 10th win of season

The No. 8 West Virginia Mountaineers earned their 10th win of the 2017 NCAA season, defeating No. 25 Oklahoma State, 1-0, on Friday night. A goal by Amandine Pierre-Louis in the 29th minute was the difference maker for the Mountaineers, who improve to 10-3-0 on the season (3-1-0, Big 12) with the win, their fourth against a Top 25 opponent this season. 

Looking at the stat sheet, West Virginia should have blown Oklahoma State out of the water, outshooting the Cowgirls 32-7, with 13 and 2 shots on goal respectively. However, a lack of finishing and a strong performance in goal by OSU goalkeeper Michela Ongaro, who had 12 saves on the night, limited the Mountaineers from scoring more than Pierre-Louis’s first-half single.

West Virginia almost took the lead in the opening minutes when Heather Kaleiohi took a shot that seemed destined for goal, but her shot deflected off the far post and bounced back into play instead. The Mountaineers then had back-to-back chances in the 28th minute, with first Carla Portillo and then Kaleiohi putting shots on target, but Ongaro was equal to the task.

Ongaro was unable to make the save a minute later when Pierre-Louis gained possession from her spot at left back and drove down the near flank before cutting inside to make a central run on goal. She was momentarily dispossessed once inside the WVU final third, but she was quick to regain possession before firing off a low shot inside the far post that cleared Ongaro’s diving attempt at the save. The goal is Pierre-Louis’s third on the season and second career goal against the Cowgirls.

Oklahoma State nearly got on the board in the final 10 minutes of the half through freshman Kim Rodriguez, who blasted a shot from distance that sailed through Rylee Foster’s gloves. Luckily for Foster, who may or may not have gotten enough of a touch to alter the shot’s trajectory, the ball ricocheted off the post for the second woodwork save of the opening half, this time to deny the Cowgirls.

The second half was almost completely dominated by West Virginia, who took 19 shots, seven of which were on goal, in that half alone. One of the Mountaineers’ best attempts of the half came in the 67th minute when senior midfielder Alli Magaletta got her head on a near-flawless free kick, but Ongaro was just able to make the diving save to prevent a second WVU goal. Magaletta nearly struck again off a set piece header in the closing minutes of the match, this time off of a corner kick, but Ongaro made her 12th save of the night to keep it a one-goal game.

Although Foster earned another clean sheet in goal for the Mountaineers, junior defender Easther Mayi Kith had probably the most impressive defensive performance of the night. Mayi Kith had multiple textbook slide tackles to strip the Oklahoma State attacking players of the ball inside the area. Other college defenders may have come in late or not gotten the ball in such an attempt to dispossess the opponent, likely resulting in a penalty for the other side, but Mayi Kith’s tackles were clean and effective, helping to secure the home shutout.

West Virginia will now close out Week 8 of the NCAA season at home against the Cowgirls’ in-state rivals, the Oklahoma Sooners, on Sunday, October 8 at 2 p.m. ET. Oklahoma State hits the road to take on Iowa State, also on Sunday, at noon ET. 


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