The West Virginia University men’s soccer team won 4-2 against LIU Brooklyn in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night.
WVU (14-6) faced an early deficit after two goals in the first nine minutes from LIU Brooklyn’s senior midfielder Rasmus Hansen.
Hansen’s two goals extended his Blackbird (13-6-1) leading goal tally to nine for the season.
The Mountaineers, however, responded with a goal of their own in the 15th minute.
“I wasn’t worried. I felt like we were gonna score,” WVU head coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “We had a lot of the ball early on. We played extremely well. And I just saw us, for the most part, stick to the game plan.”
The goal was a header by junior midfielder Logan Lucas and was assisted by Albert Andres-Llop.
The first three combined shots of the match all ended in scores until a WVU shot in the 26th minute hit off the crossbar.
The Mountaineers, though, were able to find the back of the net again, and tied the match in the 35th minute. The tying goal, again, came off a header with this one from sophomore forward Tsubasa Takada.
With snow beginning to fall in the second half, the Mountaineers looked to their senior leaders to keep their season alive and go for the victory.
This resulted in two second half goals for West Virginia, each coming from a senior.
The match-sealing goal came in the 72nd minute from midfielder Jorge Quintanilla and was assisted by juniors Ethan Shim and Albert Andres-Llop.
After the Quintanilla goal, LIU Brooklyn was only able to attempt two more shots in the match, and each were saved by WVU.
“We weren’t very nervous and I never had a doubt in my mind that we were gonna come back and win that game,” senior midfielder Joey Piatczyc said.
Piatczyc, the MAC Player of the Year, was responsible for the Mountaineers’ final goal in the 81st minute to put the game away and also had an assist in the match.
West Virginia and LIU Brooklyn each finished the match with 14 shot attempts, but WVU was able to put two more shots on goal than the Blackbirds.
Three Mountaineers tied for the team lead in shots, but junior midfielder Andres Muriel Albino was able to put the most on frame and led the team in shots on goal with three.
LIU Brooklyn was led in goals, shots and shot attempts by Hansen, with junior midfielder Giuseppe Barone being responsible for both with his two assists.
After the first round victory, the Mountaineers now advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and will go on the road for their next match at Georgetown.
West Virginia and Georgetown is set to begin on Sunday at 2 p.m.