The Kansas State women’s soccer team hosted West Virginia University for the Wildcats’ first Big 12 home opener in program history. The Wildcats ultimately fell 1-0 to the Mountaineers, a team ranked number nine in the nation.
The Wildcats are now 5-6-1 overall this season, and 0-3 in Big 12 conference play. The Mountaineers advanced to 9-3-0 overall, 2-1 in Big 12 play.
The silver lining in this match came from the defense and senior goalkeeper Miranda Larkin. Larkin recorded eight saves on Friday, only allowing one goal at the 84-minute mark. This season, Larkin has allowed 14 goals to opposing teams.
“We had some chances in the second half,” head coach Mike Dibbini said to K-State Sports. “I am proud of these players. We hung in against a very, very good team. We hung in there and definitely got some respect. This is a great confidence booster heading into the next match.”
Putting a great defensive effort aside, the Wildcats struggled heavily to score. Only five shots were attempted, four of which came from freshman forward Hannah Davis, and one from freshman midfielder Maddie Souder. K-State could not get anything past West Virginia’s goalkeeper Rylee Foster, who has allowed just nine goals and recorded 28 saves this season.
The Mountaineers, reigning Big 12 champions, held the offensive advantage in shots 11-2 in the first half and 8-3 in the second half. West Virginia forced six corner kicks on the night holding K-State to zero. In saves, the Wildcats held the edge 8-2. Nine of 19 shots attempted for West Virginia were on target.
Mountaineer midfielder Carla Portillo scored the winning goal during the 56 minutes she played. It was her second goal of the season, with her first goal scored against Duquesne on Aug. 27. Portillo has started all 12 games this season and has five points and one assist.
West Virginia lost its previous match 1-0 against the number 17 nationally ranked University of Texas Longhorns. In that game, Longhorn forward Cyera Hintzen scored the game-winning goal at the 87-minute mark.
K-State will take this confidence booster into its next match against the University of Kansas in the Sunflower Showdown. The Wildcats will take on the Jayhawks this Friday at 7 p.m. in Lawrence. The Jayhawks are 6-5-2 overall and 1-1-1 in Big 12 play.