When the West Virginia men’s soccer team takes the field Friday night at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium for their final regular season home match, the MAC regular season conference championship will be at stake.
“I think we still have another level we can go to, a championship level, which hopefully we’ll be able to win on our home field on Friday night,” said WVU head coach Marlon LeBlanc.
If the Mountaineers (11-5, 3-0 MAC) want to secure the MAC regular-season conference championship Friday, they’ll first have to get past Bowling Green. The Falcons are just recently coming off a 2-0 win in Cincinnati.
Bowling Green (5-5-4, 1-0-2) trails only West Virginia in the MAC conference standings with five points and a one-game winning streak. However, the Falcons have proven they can play with almost any team.
The Falcons have played in an unusual number of matches that have ended in ties this season (four), with the most recent only four days ago when they tied Western Michigan, 1-1.
Bowling Green also trails their opponents in goals scored per match with 1.29 as opposed to their opponents 1.43 goals per match. Bowling Green takes an average of 13.1 shots per match opposed to opponents' 12.4 shots per match.
Falcons senior forward Tate Robertson leads his team with four goals and 17 points on the season. Following Robertson is senior defenseman Ebenezer Ackon, who owns three goals and seven points through 14 matches.
Tied in points with Ackon are sophomore midfielder’s Chris Sullivan and Vinny Worner with seven points as well as three and two goals, respectively.
West Virginia has now been victorious in three straight matches, knocking off Akron 2-1 in overtime, SIU Edwardsville 5-1 and Pitt on Tuesday night, 2-1.
“There’s no doubt about it, we’re playing our best soccer at the right time of year. We’re getting better down the stretch. Hopes are is that we can stay humble, that’s a big part of it too. We have to stay humble,” LeBlanc said.
Much of this success can be directed towards senior midfielder Joey Piatczyc who again on Tuesday night scored the game-winner for the Mountaineers. The game-winner gave the senior 19 career game-winning goals, which are the sixth most in program history.
The most recent game-winner before Tuesday night came on Oct. 13 when Piatczyc scored the tying goal for the Mountaineers with under a minute remaining in regulation and struck again two minutes into overtime for the game-winner, 2-1.
Piatczyc, as well as senior forward Rushawn Larmond, will be celebrated before Friday night’s match on senior night. Earlier this season, when WVU took on American University on Aug. 31, Piatczyc broke the school record of 29 career assists.
Larmond has also been a key contributor since his freshman year in 2015, scoring nine goals and 22 points in his four seasons in Morgantown.
West Virginia will close out their season on Nov. 3 when they travel to Dekalb, Illinois to take on Northern Illinois at 8 p.m.
Friday night’s match against Bowling Green will kick off at 7 p.m. at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.