The No. 11 seed West Virginia men’s soccer team beat Virginia Tech 1-1 (4-3) in penalty kicks, to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2007 of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.
After 110 minutes of physical soccer had been played and seven penalty kicks were taken, all eyes turned to West Virginia senior captain and midfielder Pau Jimenez Albelda. Albelda struck the ball, whistling it past the Virginia Tech goalkeeper and sent West Virginia to the Sweet Sixteen.
The Mountaineers and Hokies traded blows prior to Albelda’s game winner. After a regulation and overtime period that featured 25 fouls and seven yellow cards, the Mountaineers and Hokies went to a penalty shootout.
Virginia Tech stepped up first, burying the first shot in the top left of the net. West Virginia freshman midfielder Ryan Crooks responded, scoring in the bottom left. Virginia Tech came right back, scoring in the top right.
West Virginia sophomore defender Dyon Dromers scored in the bottom left.
After it was tied 2-2 in penalty kicks, West Virginia senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky saved a Virginia Tech strike towards the bottom left. West Virginia had the opportunity as freshman defender Bjarne Thiesen stepped up, but he sailed the ball over the net.
Virginia Tech could not take advantage as Tekesky made a diving save to his left to keep things tied. Mountaineer senior midfielder Nic Short scored in the bottom left to put West Virginia ahead 3-2.
The Hokies evened things up, scoring a goal in the bottom right, setting the stage for Albelda.
Albelda stepped to the penalty area, striking the ball with his right foot, and sending the Hokies home, and the Mountaineers onto the next round.
West Virginia opened the scoring early on. Junior midfielder Ike Swiger scored from inside the penalty box in the 7th-minute to put West Virginia ahead 1-0.
Virginia Tech did not have an answer for West Virginia’s defense the rest of the half as the Hokies only registered four total shots in the first half.
In the second half, Virginia Tech responded with a strike of its own from inside the left corner of the penalty box, knotting things up at 1-1. West Virginia had chances to end it in the second half of the game, as it had eight second half shots, and at the end of second overtime almost ended it on a bicycle kick from Crooks, but the Virginia Tech goalkeeper was able to get a hand on it.
West Virginia now awaits the winner of Tulsa/Creighton to find out its opponent in the Sweet Sixteen.