On Thursday night, No.11 Auburn (2-0-3) returned home after a two-game road trip, but things went much the same as they did on the road.
Both of Auburn's games on the road trip against ACC opponents ended with a knotted score, and its first ranked, home matchup of the season against No. 21 West Virginia served as the Tigers' third straight tie and second consecutive game without a score from either team.
The game was a physical one that ended in both defenses recording a shutout: a 0-0 score.
“I thought we played miles better than we did last game,” said Auburn head coach Karen Hoppa. “Our offense was clicking, and we created a ton of opportunities. Credit to West Virginia’s goalkeeper, she was brilliant, robbed us of a couple. We just lacked the composure on a couple of good chances, but it’s coming. The improvement is there. We just have to continue to connect and then finish on the opportunities that we do have.”
WVU had more than double the amount of fouls as the Tigers, and it resulted in Auburn out-shooting the Mountaineers 13-4. Auburn came out firing, taking their first shot in the first three minutes.
Junior midfielder Anna Haddock stole the show in the first half, taking four shots and playing 42 minutes. Not only did she lead in total shots (five), but she was on target with her attempts. Four out of her five shots were on goal.
In the physical, high-contact contest, Auburn held the Mountaineers from doing as much as attempting a shot for the first 26 minutes of the game.
Auburn's goalkeeper, Maddie Prohaska, continued her dominance once thrusted into action. She kept WVU scoreless to notch back-to-back shutouts, the second time the junior has achieved the feat this season.
Prohaska is now climbing up the Auburn leader boards. The Ohio native now ranks fifth in program history in career shutouts, with 17.
However, WVU goalie Kayza Massey matched Prohaska's performance with laser focus, recording eight total saves. No matter if Auburn kicked or headed a shot, she was there to stop it. Unfortunately, many of the shots Auburn took went flying over top of the goal.
After halftime, the crowd started to look restless due to it being a scoreless contest and having seen physical play from both sides.
A WVU player took off her shoe at midfield and appeared to be readjusting it, but the Auburn faithful didn't buy it, as they began chanting in disapproval. This was followed by a yellow card on the Mountaineers' Rhea Kijowski after a hard collision.
In the end, physical games translate to a tough challenge mentally, but the Tigers were able to put their emotions to the side and play shut-down defense nonetheless to extend their opponents' scoreless streak to two games.
Next on the schedule, Auburn faces Army at home on Sunday, Sept. 4 at noon CST.
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