The West Virginia University men’s soccer team travels to Huntington, West Virginia, for an NCAA Tournament Second Round match at Marshall on Sunday, Nov. 24. Kickoff at Hoops Family Field is set for 2 p.m. ET.
“Marshall’s season has been nothing short of phenomenal, and they’ve certainly earned the national seed that they were awarded,” WVU coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “We’re expecting a big environment at their place with lots of excitement.”
WVU (10-8-2) and No. 11-seeded Marshall (15-2-3) will meet for the 22nd time on Sunday but the first since 2004. The Mountaineers lead the all-time series, 15-5-1, including 6-3 in Huntington.
In the most recent meeting, West Virginia topped the Thundering Herd, 2-1, in overtime, on Sept. 15, 2004, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown. Marshall last defeated WVU in 2000.
The Mountaineers have won five of the last six meetings against MU, dating back to 1998. The squad also recorded a seven-match win streak over the Herd from 1986-92.
Last time out, WVU earned a historic, 5-1 win over Butler in the NCAA Tournament First Round on Nov. 21, at the Sellick Bowl in Indianapolis, Indiana. Sophomore forward Josh DiMatteo and freshman forward Rodrigo Robles Grajera each scored a pair of goals, while senior midfielder Andres Muriel Albino tallied the game-winner in the 36th minute.
Freshman midfielder Luke McCormick finished with two assists, his third multi-assist performance of the season, while senior defender Sebastian Garcia-Herreros and junior midfielder Tsubasa Takada also tallied helpers.
Defensively, West Virginia held Butler to just six shots, with only two landing on frame. WVU tied a season high with 21 shots in the victory, including 15 on goal. The five goals were the most the Mountaineers have ever scored in an NCAA Tournament match and the road victory was the program’s first in the NCAA Tournament since 1981.
With the win, the Mountaineers advanced to the second round for the second consecutive season and eighth time in program history.
In all, WVU is 7-13 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. It is seeking its first trip to the Third Round since 2007.
Robles Grajera paces West Virginia with nine goals (tied for No. 48 nationally) and 21 points on the season. McCormick’s team-leading nine assists rank No. 11 in the country and No. 1 nationally among freshmen.
In goal, junior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky’s six shutouts lead the Mid-American Conference. The figure also ranks No. 42 nationally.
WVU, which is riding a four-match win streak into Sunday’s contest, is 8-0 when scoring first this season and 7-0 when leading at the half. The team also is 7-1 when scoring two or more goals this season.
Marshall is led by third-year coach Chris Grassie, who holds a 31-21-7 mark with the Thundering Herd. He was named the 2019 Conference USA Coach of the Year.
MU earned the C-USA’s automatic bid after taking down Charlotte, 1-0 (2OT), in the Conference USA Championship on Nov. 17, in Richmond, Virginia. It marked the program’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Marshall, which earned a first-round bye in the NCAA Tournament, enters Sunday’s matchup with a 7-1 mark at home this season. Redshirt freshman forward Milo Yosef, the 2019 C-USA Offensive MVP, leads the team with 11 goals and 25 points. As a team, MU has tallied 44 goals, good for No. 7 nationally.
Redshirt senior goalkeeper Paulo Pita was named the C-USA’s Co-Golden Glove Award winner and has made 64 saves. Marshall enters No. 12 nationally in save percentage, at .815.
The winner of Sunday’s second-round match will advance to play either No. 6 Washington or Boston College in the Sweet 16 on either Nov. 30 or Dec. 1.