Marlon LeBlanc’s “one game at a time” mantra seems to be paying off. Overcoming the loss of Joey Piaczyk would be a team effort every single game, especially if they wanted to prove their place in the rankings.
Luckily for the 25th-ranked Mountaineers, much of their lineup from the year before has remained intact, so the transition is a lot smoother.
West Virginia kicked their season off with a win on the road against Monmouth. Ethan Shim was the first to find the net, taking a step to top his goal total of 3 from 2018.
Now sitting at 2-1-1, the Mountaineers are wrapping up a three-game homestand with their second consecutive ranked match-up against No. 15/16 Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers are 2-1 in three road games, all of which were against ranked opponents. Just like West Virginia, their last game was against Charlotte — a 2-1 loss for Coastal that would bump the 49ers up nine spots in the rankings.
Against that same opponent just four days later, West Virginia ground out a 0-0 draw at home that left Coach LeBlanc in good spirits.
They now play host to Coastal Carolina, whose ranking stayed high despite the Charlotte loss. They don’t jump out of the page statistically, but they definitely do on tape with their physical style of play — the Chanticleers’ squad leads their conference in fouls (57) and is anchored by keeper Ciroi Alberto.
They will have to stop West Virginia’s aggressive attack, which currently leads the Mid-American Conference in shots. The Mountaineers’ attempts at goal are coming from all over the field, but its led by senior defender Albert Andres-Llop’s 13.
In all, fifteen Mountaineers have contributed over 100 minutes, showing that this season truly is a team effort. After showing that they can hang in the rankings against No. 12 Charlotte, they have another chance to prove themselves against No. 15/16 Coastal Carolina. Their match-up kicks off Friday night at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium at 7 p.m.
Be sure to stick with West Virginia Illustrated for coverage of West Virginia’s last game in this homestand!