CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- WVU Tech has been battered and beaten by a tough schedule, but now the Golden Bears are starting to reap the benefits.
Junior Creshana Jones and freshman Alex Blumer each scored a goal and freshman keeper Bridgett Goss made one save in a shutout performance as 10th-seeded Tech downed No. 7 Paul Smith's College 2-0 Wednesday afternoon in the women's play-in round of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association soccer tournament. A crowd of about 50 attended the matchup at Schoenbaum Soccer Stadium in Coonskin Park.
Tech (5-14) takes on No. 2 Daemen College at 5:15 p.m. today at Schoenbaum.
Jones put the Golden Bears up 1-0 about six minutes before halftime on an assist from freshman Catie Crumb. Blumer's unassisted tally gave Tech some breathing room with a 2-0 advantage in the 68th minute. Blumer, who is from Venezuela, cranked a shot from about 20 yards out that tucked into the upper-left corner of the net.
Paul Smith's never mounted much of a challenge the rest of the way.
"It's a big deal for us,'' Tech third-year coach Kelly Borck said of Wednesday's victory. "We've had a very difficult schedule. I don't think at any point in the season has our record been indicative of our play. Just [Tuesday] we got all of our members of our team cleared to play.
"And we have not had one game like that this season. We've had a different lineup almost every game. We've switched formations and we've switched people to totally different positions they don't normally play. That's been that way since Day 1. We've had a lot of trials throughout most of the year. We're coming together.''
Of the 19 players on Tech's roster, 10 are freshmen and have been pressed into duty this year. The Golden Bears dropped their first four games and, after their first win, had a losing streak of five games. Jones, of Jamaica, N.Y., missed the first seven games with an injury and Goss had been a forward until taking over keeper duties recently.
"We're a growing team,'' said Tech freshman Shelby Swiney, a former standout at Sissonville High. "We're getting better. Everybody's hurt. At one point we were playing 10 on the field with no subs. It's hard. It's so much different than high school. The players are faster. It was an adjustment.''