West Virginia University defender Sergio Ors Navarro during a match at Dick Dlesk Stadium on March 17, 2021.

West Virginia University defender Sergio Ors Navarro during a match at Dick Dlesk Stadium on March 17, 2021.

The West Virginia men’s soccer team is back on the pitch on Wednesday when it faces the Bowling Green Falcons in a battle for the top spot in the Mid-American Conference in Bowling Green, Ohio.

West Virginia (6-3, 4-3 MAC) earned a critical win on Sunday against Northern Illinois to keep its MAC title hopes alive with only two matches remaining on the regular season slate. In the victory, the Mountaineers showed their defensive strength as they only allowed two shots on goal for the Huskies with both being saved by goalkeeper Steven Tekesky in the shutout.

WVU has won four of its last five with the most recent defeat coming on April 7 against No. 21 Akron. In the last five matches, the Mountaineers have outscored opponents, 10-4, with three wins being shutouts.

Tekesky leads the MAC in three categories: save percentage, shutouts and average goals against. Tekesky has an 82% save rate, five shutouts in nine matches and has only allowed six goals this season.

In the first meeting between West Virginia and Bowling Green, the Falcons came away with the win, 1-0. The Mountaineers were the better offensive unit as they finished with 10 shots, five corner kicks and had three shots on goal. However, the Falcons defense remained stout and goalkeeper Logan Kowalczyk saved all three shots on goal.

Since that meeting on March 17, Bowling Green has gone 2-1 with its most recent win coming last Sunday in overtime against No. 21 Akron, 1-0. The win against the Zips was just the second Top 25 win for the Falcons in five tries.

Bowling Green hasn’t been hot offensively as it only has three total goals in its matches since facing West Virginia. However, the Falcons field Kowalczyk at goalkeeper who ranks second in many statistical categories in the MAC behind WVU’s Tekesky. Kowalczyk has only allowed seven goals this season in nine appearances and he has the second-most shutouts in the conference with four.

West Virginia needs to win this match to stay in contention for the regular season championship. The Mountaineers are currently tied for second with Western Michigan behind Bowling Green in the MAC standings.

Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. on Wednesday from Bowling Green.

Sports Editor

I am a senior journalism student from Grant, Alabama. I have been with the DA since January 2019 and I have covered multiple sports including, women's basketball, tennis, women's soccer, men's soccer, golf, swimming and diving, and football.