KANSAS CITY, Mo. –
West Virginia senior Frances Silva is feeling right at home at the Big 12 Soccer Championship at Swope Soccer Village.
A native of nearby Overland Park, Kan., Silva scored a pair of goals in the first 26 minutes as the top-seeded Mountaineers advanced to the semi-final round with a 3-0 triumph over eighth-seeded Kansas Wednesday evening.
"There was definitely extra motivation for me," said Silva, who had several members of her family in the stands for the match. "I had a lot of adrenaline today, and was really anxious to get the game started. But you have to try to treat (the Big 12 Championship) like any other game."
Silva, the Big 12's leading scorer this year, gave WVU an early lead with a free kick from just outside the box in the 18th minute. She followed with a penalty kick into the far side of the net in the 26th minute. Silva set up her penalty kick, finding space in the far side of the box and drawing a Kansas foul.
"She's just so dynamic; her speed and her creativity with the ball just makes her a tough for defenders," West Virginia head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. "Frances has lived up to everything she has earned this season. Tonight she just did what Frances does."
Kansas tried to battle back, but could not muster much offense until the final 20 minutes of play. By then, the Mountaineers had padded their lead to 3-0 on a Tessa Broadwater goal in the 56th minute, with fellow freshman Ashley Lawrence providing the opportunity on a cross from the near side of the box. Broadwater was making her first start of the season for injured senior Kate Schwindel.
The Jayhawks attempted seven shots in the contest, with just one coming in the initial 45-minute period. Senior goalkeeper Sara Keane did not have to make a save to earn her seventh shutout of the year.
Meanwhile, the Mountaineer offense peppered Kansas senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud with 20 shots, forcing her to make eight saves, including five in the first half.
"We weren't very competitive in the first half," Kansas head coach Mark Francis said. "In the second half we competed pretty well. West Virginia is a good team; they have so many weapons, but two of their goals came on set pieces, so I thought we defended them well in the run of play."
Silva and Lawrence combined to attempt 11 shots in the match, pacing the WVU offense, while Ashley Williams and Caroline Kastor led Kansas with two each.
The Mountaineers avenged a first-round loss to TCU in last year's tournament, when they were also the top seed.
"Losses provide your best lessons for a team," Izzo-Brown said. "It's my job to teach and I definitely brought it up (last season's first-round loss) a few times this week."
The 3-0 triumph marked the seventh time this season that WVU has scored three or more goals in a match. The Mountaineers are 7-0 in those matches.
West Virginia (14-3-2) advances to face the fifth-seed Baylor at 5:30 p.m. in Friday's semifinal round. Kansas completes the tournament with a 7-11-2 record.