For the first time since joining the MAC, the WVU men’s soccer team will host the MAC Championship. It all starts with Akron on Friday night.
As the regular season champions, the 12th-ranked West Virginia men’s soccer team will host the final rounds of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) tournament at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium this weekend.
After winning their final match of the regular season Friday night, WVU (13-5, 5-0 MAC) won the MAC regular season championship, their first championship since entering the conference in 2012.
“At the end of the day, it’s another win on the road for us, it’s another victory for us, and we’re looking forward to moving on to the MAC Championship semifinals next weekend at home,” WVU head coach Marlon LeBlanc said following the Mountaineers’ overtime win over Northern Illinois.
Since West Virginia received a first-round bye to begin the tournament, the Mountaineers’ first opponent will be the Akron Zips, who finished fourth in the MAC during the regular season.
WVU previously faced Akron on Oct. 13 and came away with a 2-1 overtime win.
The Mountaineers were down 1-0 until a goal was scored by WVU’s senior midfielder Joey Piatczyc with 13 seconds left to force overtime. Piatczyc then won the match for West Virginia with a goal in the 92nd minute.
Akron’s regular season finale against Western Michigan was later canceled, so the Zips (8-6-2, 1-2-1 MAC) last two matches were both against SIU Edwardsville, and both games were victories for Akron.
In the first round of the MAC Tournament, Akron beat SIU Edwardsville 2-1 and was led in goals by senior defender Morgan Hackworth and junior forward Marcel Zajac.
Both goals were scored early — the eighth and 33rd minutes — and Akron was able to hold on for the remainder of the match.
SIUE struggled throughout the match to attack the Zips’ defense as they were only able to get four shots off the entire game, with only one ending up on goal.
Akron attempted 15 shots in the match and was able to put four on goal.
For the season, sophomore forward David Egbo leads the team in goals, shots and shots on goal with nine, 40 and 15, respectively.
Zajac tops the team in assists with five on the year.
If the Mountaineers are able to defeat Akron on Friday night, they will face the winner of Bowling Green and Western Michigan in the MAC Tournament finals
West Virginia won their regular season meeting against both teams, and if they are able to secure a victory in the MAC Tournament finals, it would be their first conference tournament championship since 1997.
WVU and Akron are set to kick off Friday night at 5:30 p.m.