The best season in the history of Northwestern women’s soccer ended with a bang Friday – and not in the way the Wildcats had hoped. In the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the second-seed West Virginia Mountaineers (17-2-1) overpowered Northwestern (14-6-2), sending the 'Cats crashing out of the competition with a 4-0 loss.
Northwestern got the first chance of the match, as as a shot in the third minute from midfielder Nandi Mehta soared just a little too high, but NU wouldn’t have a shot for another 40 minutes. The Wildcats appeared to dodge an early bullet in the 12th minute, when the penalty kick from Mountaineer star Kadeisha Buchanan clanged off the goal's crossbar, but the Mountaineers were undeterred. Shortly after, in the 15th minute, Buchanan headed a corner kick from Michaela Abam to Amanda Hill, who headed the ball into the net. Hill’s fifth goal of the season put the home team up 1-0.
It wasn't long before the score was 2-0, as West Virginia’s offense was ruthlessly efficient in the first half – the Mountaineers fired 13 shots at the goal. In the 23rd minute, Mountaineer forward Michaela Abam found the ball on the left side of the box, and ripped a shot from 25 yards out just inside the right post for her 11th goal of the year. Mountaineer midfielder Leah Emaus scored her second goal of the year just four and a half minutes later, to increase West Virginia's lead to 3-0.
Wildcat goalkeeper Lauren Clem averages nearly 3.5 saves per game, but West Virginia was too much for even a goalie of her caliber to defeat. With under 10 minutes to go in the half, Mountaineer forward Kelsie Mahoney sent the ball soaring into the goal's left corner for a 4-0 lead. Northestern forward Addie Steiner forced Mountaineer goalkeeper Hannah Steadman into action for the first and only time in the 43rd minute, with a long distance shot. No dice.
West Virginia continued to pour on the offense in the second half, adding nine more shots. The 'Cats only managed a single, unsuccessful shot, by midfielder Niki Sebo. Clem didn’t permit any more damage, but the Mountaineers seemed content to ride out the rest of the half with their 4-0 advantage. The score at the end of the second half remained unchanged. With their 4-0 win, West Virginia moved on to face Loyola Marymount, while the 'Cats are done for the season.