WASHINGTON, D.C. - The No. 17-ranked West Virginia University men’s soccer team’s season came to an end in the NCAA Championship Second Round with a 1-0 loss at No. 8-ranked and 13th-seeded Georgetown on Sunday afternoon in Washington, D.C.
The Mountaineers (14-7-0) and Hoyas (13-4-3) played 87 scoreless minutes before the deciding goal was scored at 87:01. Sophomore goalkeeper Steven Tekesky made a career-high 11 saves in the loss, as WVU was shut out for just the fifth time this season.
“I thought we played really hard,” WVU coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “If you look at the stat sheet, you’re going to get a very on-sided run of how this game went. I thought we had some real fight in us, some real effort, and I’m proud of my team for what we did against a lot. Our kids were fantastic on the day, they fought tooth and nail, and I thought we had to play against more than just Georgetown today. This is the first time we’ve been shut out in quite some time, and that’s a credit to our opponent playing very hard, they’re a good team.”
West Virginia was making its 13th NCAA Championship appearance in team history and fifth in LeBlanc’s 13-year tenure. WVU earned its seventh second round berth in program history this season. The Mountaineers fall to 6-13-0 all-time in the tournament, though five of their six all-time NCAA wins, and six of seven second-round appearances, have come since 2005.
WVU’s 14 wins in 2018 are its most since 2007 and one shy of the program record of 15, set in 2006. The 14 victories included a 5-0-0 mark in Mid-American Conference play, as the Mountaineers won their first MAC regular-season championship. Saturday’s NCAA Second Round match marked the final time that seniors Joey Piatczyc, Jorge Quintanilla, Rushawn Larmond and Stephen Banick wore the Flying WV on their kits.
“Obviously, this team is going to hurt for a little bit, and we’re disappointed that we didn’t win today,” LeBlanc added. We’re a team that’s returning 10 starters next year, and quite a few other guys who contributed to us being one of the better teams in America this year. We’re coming back with a lot of good players, with a lot of experience winning games and scoring goals. The future is very bright. Sure, we’re going to miss Joey, Jorge, Rushawn and Stephen, but the foundation is laid with 10 starters, and one heck of a team, coming back.
“We’re going to let this one hurt for a little bit, but the message to the guys was that we have to make sure this game is in Morgantown next year and not on the road. It’s unfortunate that the pitch was in such rough shape, I thought it was a neutralizer for how we like to play, and the conditions made it difficult for us to get in any type of rhythm.”
Saturday at Shaw Field, sophomore forward Tsubasa Takada led the Mountaineers with three shots and two shots on goal, while junior defender Ryan Kellogg added a pair of shots on goal.
West Virginia was out-shot 28-11, and had five shots on goal to Georgetown’s 12. Defensively, Tekesky made several strong saves and the Mountaineers had key blocks and forced GU opportunities off target before Dylan Nealis found the back of the net.
Tekesky’s first two saves came in the opening five minutes of the match, and junior midfielder Andres Muriel Albino followed with a shot that was blocked from just inside the 18 for the Mountaineers. Three minutes later, Tekesky made two more saves, the first on a loose ball in the box off a corner and the second on a leaping effort that forced another GU corner kick.
The Hoyas nearly took a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute, as a ball into the far post was tapped in. However, offsides was called to negate the goal.
West Virginia had two chances in the final third in the 25th minute. The first came on a corner kick by Takada, WVU’s lone corner of the match, and the second was on a free kick by Piatczyc. However, neither ball into the box resulted in a shot for the visitors.
Georgetown had a second goal waved off due to an offsides call in the 40th minute, which kept it a scoreless match headed to halftime.
The Mountaineers opened the second half with several great chances off of a pair of free kicks by Piatczyc. However, junior defender Pascal Derwaritsch had a shot that was saved and WVU added two shots that were blocked and another wide.
The home side countered with several strong opportunities in the 63rd minute, but Tekesky made two nice saves and the defense blocked a shot and forced another two balls high.
Five minutes later, junior midfielder Ethan Shim countered with a shot that was saved. West Virginia had another chance in the 74th minute, as junior defender Albert Andres-Llop had a shot saved. Takada was there for the rebound, but so was Georgetown’s keeper, who scooped it up.
Tekesky made another leaping save in the 79th minute, and another Georgetown shot hit the post before WVU cleared the ensuing corner kick. In the 85th minute, Takada had an opportunity that went wide, before the Hoyas scored in the 88th.
GU’s goal by Nealis came on a ball that was deflected in at 87:01.
Georgetown advances to the NCAA Championship Third Round next weekend, while WVU’s season has concluded.