From WVU Athletic Department reports…
AKRON, Ohio (August 28, 2016) – A goal by sophomore midfielder Tucker Stephenson in the 81st minute lifted the West Virginia University men’s soccer team to a 1-0 upset victory over No. 7 Georgetown on a hot, sunny Sunday afternoon in Akron, Ohio.
Playing their second top-10 foe in three days to open the season, the Mountaineers (1-1-0) played right with the Hoyas (0-2-0) before finally breaking through with less than 10 minutes remaining. Stephenson notched his first goal of the season, with junior defender Louis Thomas and freshman defender Sebastian Garcia-Herreros recording assists.
The seventh-ranked Hoyas are the highest-ranked team West Virginia has beaten since taking down No. 1 UConn at home in 2011. It is WVU’s first win against a top-10 foe since the Mountaineers won at No. 8 Indiana in 2013 and the first neutral-site ranked win since 2011 against No. 11 Virginia.
“Our guys were tremendous today,” WVU coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “Our team performance from start to finish was excellent. We executed the game plan, using 18 guys that were all on the same page. All the credit goes to the players. We had a lot of the game today, had a lot of great possessions and created a lot of chances. This was a game where we had to grind, and we knew it was going to be a grind.
Stephenson’s goal, his first of the year and third of his career, came at 80:52. The play began in WVU’s end with Thomas, who brought the ball in along the near sideline. At the corner of the 18, Thomas passed the ball towards the endline to Garcia-Herreros, who sent it in towards the center of the box.
It was immediately tipped by a diving Georgetown defender, but the ball found its way to Stephenson, who was about 10 yards out and coming in towards the center of the field. Stephenson’s strike went straight in on the left side of the net, narrowly avoiding the diving Hoya keeper.
“It started out in our own half,” Stephenson said. “Louis picked it up and went wide to Sebastian, who drove the right side. I just knew I had to get in the box, and he cut it back for me. I was right at the PK spot and put it away.”
The Mountaineers out-shot the Hoyas, 13-3, and held a 7-0 advantage in shots on goal. While WVU junior keeper Jose Santos did not see a shot on goal, he played a clean match to win his first career match with the Gold and Blue. GU’s JT Marcinkowski had six saves to help keep it a scoreless match before Stephenson’s strike in the 81st minute.
Stephenson led WVU with three shots, two on goal. Sophomore midfielder Rushawn Larmond and junior forward Heath Honold both tallied two shots, one on goal. Garcia-Herreros’ assist was the first of his collegiate career.
Both teams had several chances in the first 45 minutes, but the defenses prevented either squad from putting together enough passes to put the ball on net. WVU outshot GU 5-1, while the Mountaineers had a 2-0 advantage in shots on goal.
West Virginia had the ball for much of the first eight minutes, and its first shot, which went wide, came courtesy of Garcia-Herreros. In the 20th minute, Georgetown had consecutive chances again, but a strong defensive presence inside the box prevented a shot before Santos cleared a cross in and the WVU defense cleared it again.
Senior Felix Angerer’s shot in the 33rd minute was saved before a strong push came from the Mountaineers in the final five minutes of the half. Freshman Logan Lucas’ shot went wide in the 42nd minute, and in the final 30 seconds, Stephenson sent a shot in from beyond the box that was saved.
In the second half, WVU turned up the pressure, out-shooting GU 8-2, with five shots coming on goal.
West Virginia’s best chance early came in the 58th minute, when junior midfielder Jad Arslan’s shot on a breakaway was blocked by Marcinkowski. Honold followed two minutes later with a shot that was saved. The string of WVU chances continued with a long shot by junior midfielder Joey Piatczyc that was saved and a long strike by Honold that went high.
Georgetown’s best chance came in the 70th minute, when a string of three corner kicks gave the Hoyas a prolonged offensive possession before a GU foul cleared it for the Mountaineers. Georgetown had two shots, both which were blocked. Seven minutes later, a pass from the near side resulted in a great shot attempt, but it went high.
The Mountaineers return home on Saturday, Sept. 3 for their home opener against Princeton. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. Admission will be free for all fans. A free live stream, courtesy of CityNet, and live stats can be found on WVUSports.com.