Mountaineers take on St. John’s at home in Big East quarterfinals
Published: Thursday, November 3, 2011
Updated: Friday, November 4, 2011 03:11
The No. 12 West Virginia men's soccer team returns to action Sunday after earning a first-round bye in the Big East tournament.
The Mountaineers are on a current two-game wining streak and have won six of their last eight matches. West Virginia finished off its regular season with a 10-6-1 record, going 6-3-0 in Big East play.
WVU, the second seed in the Blue Division, will face St. John's at 3:30 p.m. at Disk Dlesk Stadium.
St. John's defeated No. 11 Georgetown, 2-1 in its first round match of the Big East tournament. The Red Storm finished the regular season at 10-6-2 and 4-5-1 in Big East.
Georgetown came into the first-round match with a regular season mark of 10-4-4, as a sixth-seed in the Big East tournament.
St. John's leads the all-time series 20-4-3, after the first round win, a series that dates back to 1985. The last time the two teams met in 2009, St. John earned a 2-0 shutout.
The Red Storm outshot the Hoyas 11-10. Freshman defender Tim Parker scored the game-winning goal in the victory, while redshirt sophomore midfielder Jimmy Mulligan led St. John's with five shots and a goal.
The Big East Tournament features a 12-team field with the No. 1 seeds being Marquette and USF. If the Mountaineers earn the victory against St. John's, they will travel to Harrison, N.J., for the semifinals at Red Bull Arena in New York City.
West Virginia had success against Georgetown, St. John's opponent, earlier this season. On Oct. 8, the Mountaineers shutout the Hoyas 1-0. Midfielder Uwem Etuk scored with nine minutes left in regulation.
The match broke the three-game losing streak the Mountaineers had against Georgetown.
Earlier this week, senior defender Uzi Tayou was named to the www.CollegeSoccer360.com Primetime Performer for his play in the 2-0 team's shutout win over Notre Dame. He had his first career assist on senior Nick Claudio's goal.
"We're not focused on the team we're playing," Tayou said. "We have big goals, big ambitions. That's what we're focused on. It doesn't matter who we're playing."
Junior defender Eric Schoenle and goalkeeper Pat Eavenson were also honored. Schoenle was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Week, while Eavenson was named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll, after their solid efforts against Seton Hall and Notre Dame.
Eavenson had two shutouts; making five saves against the Fighting Irish and one against the Pirates.
Even with the shutout win against Georgetown earlier in the year, head coach Marlon LeBlanc feels the Mountaineers do not have an advantage if they do play the Hoyas.
"As much as we've seen Georgetown, I don't know if it's any better or worse to play them," LeBlanc said before the two teams played each other. "They know us a little bit better, and we know them a little bit better."
"This league is top-to-bottom the best in America. Anybody can beat anybody on a given day in this league."
The mentality and performances get a bit stronger as the postseason gets closer. There is more training and more rest during this time of year.
LeBlanc is satisfied with the bye West Virginia received for rest, but it's still not a complete advantage against the Red Storm.
"There's definitely an advantage to it," said LeBlanc. "With that said, teams lose that rhythm when you just have to sit and wait."