The West Virginia men’s soccer team kicked off its Mid-American Conference action on Sunday afternoon, falling to Western Michigan, 3-1.
The defeat broke a six-match winning streak in MAC regular season matchups dating back to last season’s match against SIU Edwardsville on Nov. 7.
Western Michigan scored its first goal of the day when a Mountaineers knocked in a Charlie Sharp shot into the net for an own goal.
West Virginia (6-5-1, 0-1 MAC) was offered plenty of scoring opportunities throughout the opening period, including a pair of shots on goal through the first 11 minutes of action off the feet of Luke McCormick and Rodrigo Robles Grajera.
A scary moment for West Virginia midfielder Pascal Derwaritsch came in the 21st minute when the senior went down with an injury.
The 30th minute saw Mountaineer goalkeeper Steven Tekesky make a strong save when Western Michigan’s Max Keenan headed a corner kick from Paul Liagre near the top crossbar to keep the score one goal affair.
“All year we’ve been juggling lineups, and that’s part of the problem right now, we have the wrong guys getting hurt and missing games,” WVU head coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “It’s one of those years where it seems we have been snake bitten with injuries.”
It didn’t take very long for Western Michigan to find the scoreboard again as Eric Conerty netted the second goal of the day for the Broncos in the 59th minute off a Caden Jackman assist for the 2-0 advantage.
“The performance today was abysmal. We’ve got to figure things out, and I think sometimes it takes getting punched in the nose to figure it out…there’s no excuses as far as I’m concerned, it’s accountability which starts with me,” LeBlanc said.
The Mountaineers cut the deficit in half in the 83rd minute with their only goal on the day when Robles Grajera volleyed a ball inside the penalty box for the 2-1 score. The goal marked Robles Grajera’s fifth on the season.
West Virginia couldn’t catch a break, however, as the Broncos came right back with a goal of their own in the 86th minute off a Charlie Sharp rebound that notched the final score at 3-1.
The Mountaineers will have five days to prepare for Northern Illinois when they come to town on Friday at 7 p.m.