WVU advances behind Tayou’s hat trick
Published: Thursday, November 18, 2010
Updated: Thursday, November 18, 2010 23:11
Throughout the 2010 season, the West Virginia men's soccer team referred to its home field as a fortress.
In the early action of Thursday night's first round NCAA Tournament game against Xavier, though, the Mountaineers looked as if they left their drawbridge down.
Thanks to a sensational effort by forward Franck Tayou, though, WVU defeated the Musketeers 4-2 in front of 513 fans at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
"Franck was huge for us," said goalkeeper Zach Johnson. "He has a nose for the ball, and he used his size well."
Xavier stormed out to a 2-0 lead just five minutes into the contest that left the Mountaineers stunned.
"We were rattled a little bit in the beginning," said head coach Marlon LeBlanc. "The guys were almost too focused and too ready to start the game."
Johnson, who was the only player on the team with NCAA Tournament experience, agreed with his head coach.
"We came out a little bit too amped up to play," Johnson said. "We were flying off the ball and just leaving people behind."
Xavier‘s first goal, which followed a tough sprawling save by Johnson, came on a corner kick that was headed home by defenseman Jared Queree.
The Musketeers struck again just a hair under five minutes into the game when a corner kick was put into the net by Mountaineers' defenseman Eric Schoenle for an own goal.
"We had been down before," Johnson said. "I had all confidence that we were going to come back in the end."
After a bit of back-and-forth play, the Mountaineers looked to calm their early jitters.
In the 21st minute, LeBlanc made substitutions that changed the course of the game.
Tayou entered the contest along with forward Peabo Doue and midfielder Travis Pittman. Tayou scored the team's first goal two minutes later.
"That goal was so important," LeBlanc said. "You could kind of feel the momentum change whenever we got that first goal."
Tayou was not done there, though, as he found the back of the net again with 12:12 remaining in the first half to tie the game at 2-2.
"We have been down two goals before," LeBlanc said. "The guys did a great job of sticking to the game plan, and those three players that came in as substitutions made me look like I actually know what I am doing."
The 6-foot-2 Cameroon native struck again coming out of the half to tally the program's first hat trick since Nov. 2, 2004 by Jarrod Evans.
With WVU now leading the contest, Xavier attempted to make a run to reclaim some momentum in the contest.
Xavier directed four second-half shots toward Johnson, but their comeback fell short.
Mountaineers' forward Uwem Etuk sealed the game with less than nine minutes remaining, when he made a spectacular personal effort to dribble past an Xavier defender to put WVU up, 4-2.