No. 18 Mountaineers to host Buffalo in MAC play
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2012 08:10
After one match outside of conference play, the West Virginia Men’s soccer team will host Mid-American opponent Buffalo Sunday at 1 p.m. at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
Sunday’s contest marks the beginning of a stretch of four straight MAC games for the Mountaineers (6-3-2, 1-0-1 MAC), who are fresh off their most devastating loss of the season in a nonconference match. They held a lead over a quality opponent in Elon with just minutes to go in the second half, but surrendered two goals in a result that left West Virginia’s players, coaches and fans stunned.
Freshman forward Jamie Merriam said it would take a special kind of resiliency to bounce back from the emotionally debilitating loss to Elon and be ready to take on Buffalo just five days later in a crucial conference matchup for the Mountaineers.
"It’s a lot of mental focus," Merriam said. "You just have to forget about it. Obviously tomorrow, it’s going to be on all our minds. We’re going to be at class and at home, just thinking about the game and what we could have done better, but come Sunday that can’t happen. We just have to be focused on Buffalo."
Senior center back Eric Schoenle echoed Merriam’s sentiments.
"This one will hurt for a while, but we’ve just got to put it past us," Schoenle said after the tough loss to Elon. "We’ve got to learn from it, learn from our mistakes and come out firing Sunday."
Buffalo (2-8-1, 0-1 MAC) has lost two straight matches, including a 4-0 drubbing in their last contest at the hands of MAC conference juggernaut Akron. The Bulls have also yet to notch a win in five matches away from their home pitch.
One contributing factor to Buffalo’s subpar record is the Bulls have only scored eight goals in 11 matches.
Senior forward Maksym Kowal and junior forward Richard Craven lead the team with three goals apiece. Craven has also picked up an assist, giving the team lead with seven total points.
Marcus Hanson (two) and Jesse Andoh (one) round out the Bulls’ point scorers in 2012.
Senior Jonathon Viscosi has started in goal for 10 of Buffalo’s 11 matches so far this season, posting a 2-6-1 record with 43 saves.
West Virginia, on the other hand, hasn’t had a whole lot of problems finding the back of the net this season. Twelve different players have scored for the Mountaineers in their 11 matches.
Schoenle leads the team with four goals from the center back position. Midfielder Travis Pittman and forwards Ryan Cain, Nick Raskasky and Merriam each have two goals of their own. Seven other players have scored one goal for WVU in 2012.
But West Virginia head coach Marlon LeBlanc claimed that finding the back of the net hasn’t really been the issue for the Mountaineers so far this season. After WVU’s last loss, LeBlanc said he and the Mountaineers’ players would have to put extra emphasis on the team’s preparation heading into the Buffalo match.
"We’ve got to figure out a team that’s going to follow the game plan," LeBlanc said. "We’ve also got to put together a better game plan, I’ve got to coach my team better, and at the end of the day, we’ve got to figure out a way to get them better prepared so we can get a result Sunday afternoon."