The hour-long delay preceding Saturday night’s match did not seem to faze the West Virginia men’s soccer team one bit en route to a 5-1 explosion over SIU Edwardsville.
“It was massive, it’s a massive result that we needed to have tonight, we’re 10-5… I think for us to get the tenth win now was big for us to be 3-0 at the top of the table is big and we’re a win away from potentially hosting the semi-finals of the MAC championship,” explained head coach Marlon LeBlanc on what the victory meant Saturday night.
West Virginia started the game shaky but exploded for four of their five goals in the second half.
SIU Edwardsville struck first on the night when junior midfielder Jorge Gonzalez chipped the lone shot for the Cougars over WVU goalkeeper Steven Tekesky in the 11th minute.
The shaky Mountaineers offensive performance in the first half allowed Tekesky to play lights out saving seven goals in the first half as opposed to saving two goals in the second half.
“It’s his job and I think he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the country, this game was just wide, wide open and I think the weather impacted it and I think he stepped up and controlled things,” explained LeBlanc on Tekesky’s performance.
A huge moment for the West Virginia defense came in the 32nd minute when Tekesky saved two goals from the feet of Gonzalez and senior defenseman Johan DePicker. The two saves came in a matter of three seconds before the WVU defense deflected the final shot attempt three seconds later to keep the margin within one goal.
The trio of saves would prove to be much needed when WVU junior defenseman Pascal Derwaritsch scored off of a corner kick from senior midfielder Joey Piatczyc only three minutes later in the 35th minute to knot the score even at 1-1.
In the second half, the West Virginia offense hit a spark plug and came to life scoring four of their five goals and holding possession of the ball for the majority of the half.
“In the second half I thought we made some fantastic adjustments and really came out and bossed the game… in the first half I thought they were the better team, in the second half we were the better team and we got the job done,” explained LeBlanc.
Six minutes into the second half, senior midfielder Joey Piatczyc headed the second goal of the night into the back of the net to take the first lead of the night, 2-1.
Only seventeen minutes later, junior midfielder Andres Muriel Albino padded the West Virginia lead to 3-1. The goal marked Albino’s second on the season and the assist was provided by junior midfielder Sebastian Garcia Herreros.
In the 74th minute sophomore defenseman Kevin Morris headed the fourth goal of the night into the net. The goal marked Morris’ second of the season and the assist was delivered from junior defenseman Albert Andres-Llop.
Finally, in the 81st minute Andres-Llop put the game away netting his first goal on the season and last of the night for the Mountaineers with the assist coming from senior forward Rushawn Larmond.
Albino led the Mountaineers in shots on the night with five followed by Piatczyc who chipped in four. Andres-Llop also added two shots on the night as well. Albino also led in shots on goal with three followed by Piatczyc with two.
West Virginia will continue its final homestand taking on Pittsburgh in the Backyard Brawl on Tuesday, October 23 at 7 p.m.