WVU Men's Soccer Rolls in Top 20 Upset

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    A dominating second half helped the West Virginia University men’s soccer team maintain its place atop the Mid-American Conference with a 5-1 victory over No. 20 SIU Edwardsville on Saturday night at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

    In a matchup between the top two teams in the conference standings, the Mountaineers (10-5-0, 3-0-0 MAC) scored four second-half goals to down the Cougars (9-2-4, 1-1-1 MAC). WVU improved to 6-1 at home and has won eight of its last 10 matches, while SIUE saw its eight-match unbeaten streak come to an end. West Virginia is 1-1 against ranked foes this year.

    With the win, West Virginia is 3-0-0 in MAC play and in first place with nine points, while no other MAC team has more than five points. Two conference matches remain, beginning against Bowling Green on Friday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. ET, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The Senior Night matchup comes after WVU hosts Pitt in non-conference action on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m.

    “I thought they were a better team in the first half by a long shot, and I think that we were the better team in the second half by a long shot,” WVU coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “I think we were amped up and ready to go at kickoff, and then the weather delay I think shocked us into a little bit of a stall. It’s tough to go from being really amped up to kind of going flat, and they jumped all over us. And, the wind and the weather affected a little more than what we anticipated, but I thought we made some fantastic adjustments in the second half and really came out and bossed the game. I thought the first half they were the better team and the second half we were the better team. We got the job done and that is what we talked about during halftime.”

    The Mountaineers were out-shot 12-6 in the opening 45 minutes, as SIUE held an 8-3 advantage in shots on goal and took a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute. However, sophomore goalkeeper Steven Tekesky made seven saves to keep WVU in the match and junior defender Pascal Derwaritsch found the equalizer at 35:17.

    Derwaritsch’s game-tying goal to make it 1-1 was his team-leading fifth score of the season. Senior midfielder Joey Piatczyc picked up the assist on a corner he sent into the box. The ball bounced inside the six and up to Derwaritsch, who headed it in.

    The assist was the 30th of Piatczyc’s career, who already owns the school record for career assists.

    West Virginia responded in the second half with eight shots, six on goal, and scored four goals. Defensively, WVU held the Cougars to three shots, two on goal.

    As the Mountaineers improved to 10-0-0 this season when scoring two or more goals and 18-0-0 in the last three years, they came back to erase a 1-0 deficit for the third time in the last four contests.

    West Virginia took a 2-1 lead in the 64th minute on an own goal, and extended its advantage to 3-1 less than five minutes later. At 68:25, junior midfielder Andres Muriel Albino bent one into the upper corner of the far post from just inside the corner of the box. Junior midfielder Sebastian Garcia-Herreros picked up the assist.

    The Mountaineers wasted no adding to their lead, as sophomore defender Kevin Morris made it a 4-1 match at 72:27. He headed it in off a fantastic feed in on a free kick from junior defender Albert Andres-Llop.

    Nine minutes later, at 81:17, West Virginia scored its final goal to make it 5-1. Andres-Llop picked up his first goal of the year, with the assist to senior forward Rushawn Larmond.

    Muriel Albino led the Mountaineers with five shots and three shots on goal. Piatczyc added four shots, two on goal.

    Tekesky had nine saves, while SIUE keeper Noah Heim had four, two in each half.

    SIUE took a 1-0 lead at 11:09 on a goal by Jorge Gonzalez. The score came off a corner kick and after the Cougars had three shots and another corner in the previous five minutes. Tekesky made one save, while another shot was blocked and another wide before the visitors took the lead.

    Tekesky added another save in the 16th minute, and two fantastic saves in the 33rd. The sequence late in the half included a clear off the line by the defense to keep the Mountaineers in the match, down a goal. Tekesky made another nice save minute later before Derwaritsch tied the match at 1-1 at 35:17.

    On a rainy night in Morgantown, the match was delayed one hour prior to kickoff, due to lightning in the area.

    Up next, West Virginia hosts Pitt in the Backyard Brawl on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. ET, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. Tickets are available at WVUGAME.com or by calling 1-800 WVU GAME. The match is part of Mountaineer Week, and there will be a Maniacs giveaway for students and a student raffle for a sideline pass to the Baylor football game. The second-to-last home contest of the regular season also is the final Taco Tuesday of the season, with $2 walking tacos.

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