No. 18 West Virginia ready to get back to winning ways against Seton Hall
Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 23:10
It has been an unpredictable ride for the No. 24 West Virginia men's soccer team this season.
At times, the Mountaineers (8-6-1, 3-2-0) have come out flat, lacking enthusiasm and paid the price (e.g., Providence, James Madison).
While in other matches, they look like one of the most talented teams in the country (e.g., Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Connecticut).
Now, WVU will look to find some consistency and gain some momentum going into the postseason, in their showdown in South Orange tonight at 7 against a Seton Hall squad that has had its ups and downs as well.
With only two games left in the regular season, there is no time for excuses and little margin for error.
"It's a must win," said team captain Ray Gaddis. "We can't hang our heads on the Providence loss – we just have to go forward from here on out."
The Pirates (4-9-2, 0-6-0) may be unimpressive on paper, but they are more talented than their record suggests.
"Seton Hall is always a team that can attack and score goals in bunches," said West Virginia head coach Marlon LeBlanc. "I think they're a young team this year that's still trying to figure themselves out. But some of their results have been impressive."
The most impressive result the Pirates have earned this season was playing No. 3 Maryland to a 0-0 draw.
Seton Hall remains the only team this season to shut out a Terrapins' offense LeBlanc calls "one of the most exciting and dynamic in the country."
This is the very same offense that netted three goals against West Virginia Aug. 29.
Seton Hall is led offensively by sophomore forward Max Garcia, who has five goals on the season, but have been inconsistent at goalkeeper, starting four different keepers on the season.
The last two matches have been tough on the Mountaineers, and they has some serious health issues heading into their match with Seton Hall.
Gaddis, along with sophomore starter Allan Flott, (was lost) in the victory over UConn to a sprained ankle, while team points leader Shadow Sebele went down against Providence and was not 100
percent when he returned.
All three are in questionable condition for tonight's match.
"I think that's probably our biggest issue," LeBlanc said. "We really missed all three of those guys against
Providence. I think we all know we're a better team with them than we are without them."
At this point, it's "put up or shut up" for the banged-up Mountaineers.
"At the end of the day there isn't much we can do about it except to plug on as if we don't have them," LeBlanc said. "And that's how we're preparing."
This week will be a true test of resilience for a team that has struggled away from home this season and how it handles that test will set the tone for the postseason.
"Sometimes we've had a rough time on the road," said junior midfielder Uwem Etuk. "But, we have to put that behind us, and just look straight forward to Seton Hall, and take it one game at a time."