The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

November 12, 2010

WVU women open tournament tonight

MORGANTOWN — As storybook finishes go, the one West Virginia University defender Meghan Lewis authored was so farfetched that she probably never could have gotten anyone to believe it, but it was as real as the blood that had gushed out of her mouth and the four stitches it took to close the cut before she brought home the Big East women’s soccer championship to the Mountaineers.

Scoring as an improbable a goal as has ever been scored in the Big East Championships and doing it in the 82nd minute of play to carry WVU past South Florida and into the NCAA Championships is one of those moments that she will never forget … and shouldn’t.

No matter what happens in the NCAAs, which begin for third-seeded West Virginia at 6 p.m. today at the Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium against Morehead State, that goal becomes a part of Mountaineer sports history.

Let us first set the stage, and to do that you have to go back into the first half when there was scrum for the ball with Lewis, a junior from Napierville, Ind., getting much the worst of it.

“The girls meshed,” she said on the day the NCAA drawings came out. “My teammate made their girl push someone into me and I hit my head into the girl in front of me. I could feel the pain. I thought I lost a tooth at first.”

She felt to make sure the tooth was there, but when she finished she looked at her hand.

“There was gushing blood all over my hand,” she said.

Lewis exited the game and no one figured they’d see her back on the field, but she was not about to have that way.

She missed 12 minutes, long enough to get some stitches in to close the cut. She passed a concussion test in the locker room at halftime … you know, follow the moving finger, shrug your shoulders, tell the doctor who you are and where you are.

That was enough to get her put back into the game, which was a story in and of itself, but to score the winning goal in the finals of the Big East Championships, well, the lady is a defender.

“It’s a great story,” forward Megan Mischler said. “She gets smacked in the mouth. Some people thought she lost some teeth. She had to get stitches. But she comes back in the game and played awesome connecting passes and getting in the box to score one. She’s a defender and doesn’t have many offensive chances, really at all, this season, but she comes through in a big game.”

The moment came as defender Bry McCarthy sent the ball into the box, drawing the USF goalie out to take a weak punch at it.

It didn’t go very far and WVU midfielder Blake Miller headed it into Lewis area, where she put it in with her right foot.

“Blake saved it by jumping over some girl and heading it down. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time and I finished,” Lewis said. “At first, I couldn’t believe it went in. I did a double take to make sure it went in the goal. I was so shocked the goalie didn’t save it or the player on the post didn’t use her body or her head to get in the way.”

Strange as it may seem, by that time there were no thoughts in her mind about getting bopped in the mouth, no intimidation factor at all.

“I just knew the chances of that happening again were very slim,” she said. “I mean, how many times had I gone up in the air and not had this problem?”

That gave WVU its 12th consecutive victory, the fifth longest winning streak in the nation to carry into the NCAA Tournament. It also made women’s soccer the first sport at the school to win two NCAA championships in its sport.

The Mountaineers now make their 11th consecutive NCAA tournament appears and face Morehead State, a team that has won seven straight and has gone 10-0-1 in its last 11 matches to finish at 13-6-1.

If the Mountaineers can win, they figure to face Penn State in the sectional final. Penn State beat the Mountaineers to open the season.

E-mail Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com.

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