Following matches against Radford and Delaware, the West Virginia men’s soccer team will complete their three-game homestand on Tuesday with a match against the Binghamton Bearcats.
Binghamton (3-5-2, 2-0-0 America East) opened conference play with back-to-back, home wins over Hartford and New Hampshire. Now, though, they are making the trip to Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium to face the Mountaineers (6-4) in their second to last non-conference match of the season.
The Bearcats are tied for first in the American East with Stony Brook, and are led by former West Virginia player and coach Paul Marco.
Marco was a member of the WVU soccer team from 1988-90 and was the head coach of the Mountaineers from 1996-2001. He is now in his 17th season with the Bearcats.
Binghamton has struggled offensively this season as they have scored multiple goals in only five of their 10 matches, and have yet to eclipse three goals in a match this season.
The Bearcats are led in goals at three by junior forward Harris Brkovic.
Though Brkovic is the team leader in goals, sophomore midfielder Noah Luescher leads the team in shots, shots on goal and assists at 27, 13 and four, respectively.
Luescher is also tied for second on the team in goals with two, and tops in total points with eight, as well.
Binghamton is No. 25 in the country and first in the AEC in saves with an average of 4.80 per game.
“Obviously, Binghamton will come in here hungry,” WVU head coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “They’ll come in here wanting to win, but the goal is for us to be able to do the same thing mentally [as in WVU’s last match, a 2-0 win over Delaware]. I think we’re close to being really, really good.”
WVU is led in goals by junior defender Pascal Derwaritsch’s four. Derwaritsch is also tied for first on the team in points with senior midfielder Joey Piatczyc, at eight.
Piatczyc and junior midfielder Sebastian Garcia-Herreros are tied for the team lead in assists at four.
Sophomore goalkeeper Steven Tekesky leads the Mid-American Conference in total saves with 38, and the Mountaineers against Binghamton will be looking for their fourth shutout in their last five outings.
West Virginia, though, will enter their match shorthanded as Piatczyc and sophomore forward Tsubasa Takada have each missed the last three games for the Mountaineers, and will likely miss Binghamton as well.
“You’re talking about one of the best players in the country in Joey Piatczyc, and Tsubasa [Takada] who’s such a dynamic offensive influence for us, it’s a big change,” LeBlanc said.
After Binghamton, WVU opens conference play and goes on the road against Western Michigan for the first of a three-game road trip.
Kickoff between West Virginia and Binghamton is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday.