The No. 9 West Virginia University men's soccer team used a first-half goal from freshman Jamie Merriam en route to a 1-0 victory over Stetson on Monday afternoon at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in the final match of the WVU Nike Classic.
WVU (2-0-0) held possession throughout most of the game and out-shot the Hatters 14-7, as well as holding a 10-2 advantage in corner kicks. Merriam and freshman Majed Osman led the Mountaineers with three shots apiece, while senior Eric Schoenle added two.
The teams spent most of the first 20 minutes playing back-and-forth with a relatively low number of scoring opportunities, before WVU reeled off three corner kicks in a span of 10 minutes.
A corner kick in the 31st minute proved to be the dagger as senior Travis Pittman sent an in-swinger to a streaking Merriam, who flicked the ball towards the back post, deflecting off a Stetson defender and into the net.
The goal was the first of Merriam's career in his second career game, while Pittman is now tied for the team lead in points with three.
Senior goalkeeper Pat Eavenson earned the shutout, making three saves in 90 minutes of work. Eavenson had a key save on Raffaele Centofanti from in front of the net in the 87th minute to preserve the victory.
Kai Eckenrode and Jonathan Mendoza each took two shots for Stetson, and goalkeeper Andreas Schnabl made one save.
West Virginia's best non-scoring chance came in the 89th minute off the foot of senior Shadow Sebele, who sent a right-footed shot just wide left of the net. Freshman Nick Breitsameter was able to maintain possession along the right side of the pitch, providing a perfect pass to Sebele at the top of the box.
The Mountaineers return to action on Friday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m., when they take on the 2011 National Champion and No. 1 North Carolina, in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Mountaineers will then travel to No. 19 Wake Forest for a match on Sunday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m.