Mountaineer Soccer Advances

The No. 1-seeded West Virginia University men's soccer team battled torrential weather conditions to defeat No. 4-seeded South Florida, 1-0, in the BIG EAST quarterfinals on Saturday evening at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown.

Both teams were put to the test as strong wind gusts and a wintry mix of rain, snow and sleet fell throughout the match. The Mountaineers (15-1-2) received quite possibly the biggest break of the night before the opening kickoff as they chose to attack against the wind in the first half and with it in the second.

That strategy did not come without its difficulties though as WVU goalkeeper Nick Noble had to save six shots on goal including a spectacular diving save to his let side midway through the half. The Bulls (9-6-4) fired eight total shots in the first half but were not able to find the back of the net on any of them.

With the wind to their backs in the second period the Mountaineers were able to open up their high powered offense a bit more and attack more frequently and consistently. That ability paid off in the 68th minute when USF goalkeeper Dane Brenner cleared a ball poorly to WVU midfielder Andy Wright, who quickly sent a pass to fellow Englishman Dan Stratford. Stratford lobbed a high floater towards the goal from 35-yards out that Brenner misjudged and allowed to score.

West Virginia's defense was nothing less than stifling in the second half as it did not allow South Florida to record a shot until 30 minutes had melted off the clock. In all, the Bulls could just muster two shots in the final 45 minutes of play.

The win marked the first for the Mountaineers over USF since 1983. West Virginia is now 3-9-2 all-time against the Bulls.

WVU has now won a postseason match in three consecutive seasons. The 1965, '66 and '67 teams are the only other Mountaineer squads to put together such a streak.

The Mountaineers now travel to Piscataway, N.J., to face Rutgers at Yurcak Field on Friday, Nov. 3, at 3 p.m. The Scarlet Knights entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed from the Red Division and defeated Notre Dame, 2-1, in overtime at home on Saturday to advance.

Friday's match between West Virginia and Rutgers will be broadcast live on CSTV.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories