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September 19, 2018 at 7:41 am #69465
A pair of second-half goals and a shutout performance defensively lifted the West Virginia University men’s soccer team to a 2-0 victory over Cincinnati on Tuesday night at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
The Mountaineers (4-3) recorded their second clean sheet of the season and held the Bearcats (1-6) to just two shots in the contest. Offensively, WVU countered with 13 shots, four on goal. Sophomore defender Kevin Morris scored his first career goal in the 52nd minute and junior defender Ryan Kellogg added a goal, his first of the year, in the 71st.
“It’s one heck of a result for our team, with three of our best players not in the game – three starters and three of our top players on our team,” WVU coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “What a team performance. I have nothing but praise for my guys off the short rest, and that team (Cincinnati) off a full week’s rest. We put in one heck of a performance, and I’m incredibly ecstatic with how we performed tonight.”
The victory was West Virginia’s fifth in a row at home against non-conference foes, while WVU remains unbeaten in 14 of its last 17 matches against non-conference opponents at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The Mountaineers have also won 12 consecutive contests when scoring two or more goals, with a 4-0 mark this season.
West Virginia’s defense limited Cincinnati to two second-half shots, both in an 11-minute span in between WVU’s two goals. Sophomore goalkeeper Steven Tekesky stopped both shots he faced. Additionally, Cincinnati had just two corner kicks in the contest, one in each half.
“The two saves, I think one was a shot from 40 yards out and the other one was on no angle from the end line, and the defense was fantastic,” LeBlanc added. “Our top priority tonight was a shutout. We let two get away from us earlier on in the season, one with American, we gave up a late goal, and then the last game (Saint Francis), we gave up a late goal. So, that was the number one priority for us, to get the shutout.”
WVU’s first goal came at 51:29, off the foot of Morris. The play began with a corner kick by sophomore forward Tsubasa Takada, who sent the ball into the box near the far post. The ball was misplayed by UC’s keeper, bouncing right to Morris inside the six, and Morris sent the ball past him for a 1-0 lead.
The Mountaineers took a 2-0 lead at 70:53, as junior midfielder Sebastian Garcia-Herreros sent a long pass to Takada, who delivered a ball in from outside the corner of the box. His ball into the box met Kellogg, who used a diving effort to score from 10 yards out.
Takada led the team with five shots and was one of four Mountaineers with one shot on goal. His two-point night was the first multi-point match of his career. Kellogg added three shots in the win.
West Virginia held a 9-0 advantage in shots in the first half, with two shots on goal. The Mountaineers had four corner kicks to the Bearcats’ one.
Kellogg recorded WVU’s first shot in the second minute, which was blocked, and Takada followed in the seventh minute with his first of four first-half shots, which was saved.
The Mountaineers finished the first half with several chances, including four corner kicks in the final five minutes. West Virginia’s best chance came off the final corner kick, in the 44th minute, as junior midfielder Logan Lucas had a header that was saved, and Takada followed with a shot that went wide.
The second half began just like the first did, with pressure in the final third by the Mountaineers. After a shot wide in the 48th minute, Morris scored in the 52nd off Takada’s corner kick.
Cincinnati’s first shot of the match came in the 58th minute, but Tekesky made the save to preserve the 1-0 advantage. Tekesky made his second save in the 69th minute, just two minutes before WVU made it a 2-0 contest in the 71st.
Kellogg’s goal in the 71st minute came on the final shot for either team, as WVU prevented a UC scoring chance the rest of the match.
The Mountaineers are back on the road to face Dayton on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. ET. WVU then returns home to begin a three-match homestand vs. Radford on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m., at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. Tickets are available at WVUGAME.com or by calling 1-800 WVU GAME.0
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