The West Virginia men's soccer team celebrates after upsetting No. 3 Pittsburgh on Aug. 30, 2021, in Morgantown, W.Va.

The West Virginia men's soccer team celebrates after upsetting No. 3 Pittsburgh on Aug. 30, 2021, in Morgantown, W.Va. 

The No. 2 seed West Virginia men’s soccer team will compete in the Mid-American Conference postseason tournament in a semifinal game against the No. 3 seed Georgia State Panthers on Thursday night. 

After closing out the regular season on a four-game winning streak, West Virginia (11-4-2, 4-1-1 MAC) has its sights set on capturing the postseason MAC championship and earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament. 

“We want to win a conference tournament here,” WVU head coach Dan Stratford said. “We also want to get back into that top-16 conversation and earn an at-large bid for the national tournament. We’re still very much looking ahead here to see what's next for this team.”

Heading into the tournament, the Mountaineers are seeded at No. 2 in the four-team tournament;  just behind top-overall seed Northern Illinois, in addition to the Panthers (11-5-0, 3-3-0 MAC) and Bowling Green.

With a win over Georgia State, the Mountaineers would advance to the championship game of the tournament, where they would be facing the winner of Northern Illinois/Bowling Green. 

The WVU squad won against Bowling Green (2-0 on Nov. 4) but fell to Northern Illinois, 2-0, on Oct. 9. 

The beginning of the four-game winning streak began with a bounce back win over Georgia State at Dick Dlesk soccer stadium on Oct. 28. That game featured a late game winner off the right foot of sophomore Ciro Bourlot Jaeggi in the 87th-minute. 

A persistent offensive attack will be key in order to pick up the win against the Panthers. Jaeggi, junior Luke McCormick, and senior Yoran Popovich will be expected to lead the charge against the strong GSU back line. 

The Mountaineer defensive unit has been bolstered by the return of junior Dyon Dromers from injury during the previous game against the Panthers.

In the 2-1 win, Dromers hit a long shot from 30 yards out into the back of the net, and gave all the momentum in the second half to the Mountaineers. 

In addition to Dromers, fifth-year senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky will be going for a clean sheet — something he wasn’t able to accomplish in the regular-season matchup against the Panthers. 

"We need to get back to keeping some clean sheets. That needs to be part of our identity. We want to limit those mistakes,” Stratford said following the win over GSU on Oct. 28. “But we showed some great resilience to come back in the face of adversity and win the game late."

Georgia State comes into the MAC tournament for the first time after leaving the Sun Belt conference this year. They are led by leading scorer Ethan Sassine, who has six goals on the season. In goal, the Panthers rely on veteran Gunther Rankenburg. Rankenburg has tallied 55 saves and started every game this year for GSU. 

WVU’s last conference tournament appearance was in 2019, when the Mountaineers won the conference title. Kickoff for the semifinal matchup against the Panthers is set for 4:00 pm.