Head coach Dan Stratford and the Mountaineers continue their success with a 1-0 win against Northern Illinois at Dick Dlesk Stadium in Morgantown on Saturday, notching their second win in two matches under a new coaching staff.
Stratford has been impressed with his team so far, crediting the defense and their effort to the team’s success.
“Well, obviously over the first few games, the defensive effort and the personnel we’ve had defensively, and what they’ve done to keep two clean sheets, even with us being under a lot of pressure,” Stratford said. “But the fact that we’ve stood up to those two tests can fill the guys with a lot of confidence. I really am a big believer in the importance of clean sheets and how valuable they are, and having them the first two games is huge.”
Tony Pineda scored the lone goal in this match in the first period, which gave West Virginia (2-0, 1-0 MAC) a lead it kept for the rest of the game. Pineda now has three goals in two matches for the Mountaineers, becoming an offensive threat for the team.
Northern Illinois (1-3-1, 0-1 MAC) kept attacking the Mountaineer defense in both periods, taking 11 shots in the match, with four shots on goal. All four were saved by senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky.
WVU only recorded two shots in this match, the lowest this season, one being the goal by Pineda.
Once again WVU struggled with fouls, recording eight fouls in the first period, and seven in the second period, with a total of three yellow cards. NIU also had 12 fouls, three yellow cards, and two offsides penalties.
NIU capitalized on the WVU fouls with four corner kick opportunities compared to WVU’s one, but none ended successfully for the Huskies.
As a forefront of this team’s success, the backline helped tremendously against the Huskies, disrupting their offense and shutting down any shots on goal, with zero goals allowed.
West Virginia will travel next to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to face off against Western Michigan on March 14. This match is set to kick off at 1 p.m.