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October 9, 2019 at 7:03 am #100576
The West Virginia University men’s soccer team fell to No. 18-ranked North Carolina, 3-1, on Tuesday night at Dorrance Field at the UNC Soccer & Lacrosse Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Junior midfielder Pau Jimenez Albelda scored the first goal of his Mountaineer career in the 37th minute, but the Tar Heels’ attack produced three goals in the nonconference affair. Junior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky made six saves in the loss, which dropped West Virginia to 6-4-1 on the season.
“We were surprised that they played over the top as much as they did and really made the game very up and down,” WVU coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “They are a pretty good team at keeping the ball when they want to, and I thought the energy they started the game with put us on our heels. Then, we really got pinned back, and they were able to really wear out our legs.
“I think if we could’ve been at 1-0 when we got the goal back, then we would’ve been in good position. It was ‘game on’ for a little bit there at 2-1, but their third goal was a total breakdown on our part and broke our back a little bit. It’s tough to go on the road for a midweek game against a quality team like North Carolina. Give them a ton of credit; they’re a great team and very, very talented.”
Tekesky’s night started early when he made back-to-back saves in the fifth minute to deny an early Tar Heel goal. The Mountaineer back line stayed busy, though, fighting off more forward play by North Carolina (7-2-2) in the opening 15 minutes of play.
In the 21st minute, senior midfielder Andres Muriel Albino nearly gave WVU the lead on a shot from the corner of the box, before it sailed wide of the frame. Then, UNC took the lead on a 28th-minute goal off a corner kick.
Moments later, the hosts scored again, taking a 2-0 lead off a deflection.
Jimenez Albelda’s goal came in the 37th minute on a cross sent in by freshman midfielder Luke McCormick. Sitting back post, Jimenez Albelda finished near the goal line to cut the deficit in half.
The helper was McCormick’s team-leading fifth of the season.
In the second half, the Mountaineers continued their pursuit of the equalizer, before the Tar Heels registered their third tally in the 72nd minute on a flick that got by Tekesky. WVU’s lone shot on goal in the second half came in the 87th when senior midfielder Pascal Derwaritsch’s diving header was saved by the Tar Heel keeper.
UNC outshot WVU, 20-7, and held a 11-3 advantage in corner kicks. Jimenez Albelda and Muriel Albino led the Mountaineers with two shots apiece in the setback.
Next up, the Mountaineers return home to host Western Michigan on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 1 p.m. ET, in the squad’s Mid-American Conference opener.
Sunday’s match is Youth Soccer Day, with free admission to all youth. Along with a postgame soccer clinic and autograph session, Mountaineer Kids Club members can pick up their t-shirts and pillowcases at the contest, as well as meet Mr. Twister, the face paint and balloon animal artist, and Musket, the Mountaineer Kids Club mascot.
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