Four unanswered goals lifted the No. 17 West Virginia University men’s soccer team to a 4-2 victory over LIU Brooklyn in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship on Thursday night at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
The Mountaineers (14-6-0) trailed 2-0 nine minutes into the match, but answered with a goal in the 15th minute and the match-tying score in the 35th. WVU took its first lead against the Blackbirds (13-6-1) in the 72nd minute and added a fourth goal in the 81st to advance to the NCAA Second Round for the seventh time in program history and sixth since 2005.
“We were playing well when we went down 2-0,” WVU coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “They countered twice and scored two goals, and didn’t really have much of the ball when they did it, but they were effective and efficient when they did it. I think from a coaching standpoint, I’m not happy about the goals that we gave up, especially when we were carrying the run of play at the moment. But, I wasn’t worried, I felt like we were going to score. We had a lot of the ball early on, and we played extremely well. I just saw us, for the most part, stick to the game plan. We moved the ball very, very, well, side-to-side we had a lot of possession. And, understand, LIU Brooklyn is a high-possession team, and we had quite a bit of it tonight. I thought we were just very, very good.”
West Virginia’s four goals are tied for its most in an NCAA Championship match. Junior defender Albert Andres-Llop and senior midfielder Joey Piatczyc also tied program NCAA records, with two assists and three points, respectively. Additionally, WVU’s first goal at 14:59 is its quickest score in NCAA Tournament play.
The Mountaineers are making their 13th NCAA Championship appearance in program history and first since 2011. WVU improved to 6-12-0 in the NCAA Championship and 5-2-0 all-time in NCAA action at home. Four of West Virginia’s six wins have come in five appearances in LeBlanc’s 13-year tenure.
With the win, the Mountaineers advance to the NCAA Championship Second Round to face No. 13-seeded Georgetown on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. ET, in Washington, D.C.
On a chilly evening in Morgantown with a mix of sleet and snow, junior midfielder Logan Lucas put the Mountaineers on the board with a goal in the 15th minute, and sophomore forward Tsubasa Takada tied it up in the 35th with his first career goal. Senior midfielder Jorge Quintanilla scored his first of the season in the 72nd minute to give West Virginia a 3-2 lead, and Piatczyc made it 4-2 in the 81st.
Andres-Llop’s assists came on the first and third goals. Junior defender Pascal Derwaritsch and Piatczyc assisted on the second, while junior midfielder Ethan Shim joined Andres-Llop with an assist on the game-winning goal. Takada, Derwaritsch and junior midfielder Andres Muriel Albino all had three shots, with Muriel Albino leading the team with three shots on goal. In goal, sophomore Steven Tekesky made four saves in the victory, three in the second half.
As the Mountaineers improved to 9-2-0 this season and 99-36-18 all-time at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium, they scored at least two goals for the 14th time in 2018. West Virginia has won 22 consecutive matches when scoring two or more in a match, which includes a perfect 14-0-0 mark this season.
LIU Brooklyn took an early 1-0 lead at 3:11 on a goal by Rasmus Hansen, who connected inside the six on a cross into the box. The Blackbirds made it 2-0 five minutes later, at 8:55. It was Hansen again, who beat the keeper on the left and scored on a ball that hit off the post and in.
The Mountaineers answered six minutes later to cut the deficit to one, at 2-1. Lucas headed it in off a perfectly-placed corner by Andres-Llop, at 14:59.
West Virginia had several great chances to tie it up in the 26th minute, as Derwaritsch had a shot blocked off an Andres-Llop corner kick, and Takada hit the post.
Seven minutes later, West Virginia tied it up thanks to Takada, who headed it in. Piatczyc sent the ball into the six to Derwaritsch, who headed it to Takada. The goal came after Muriel Albino had a shot saved, and junior defender Ryan Kellogg had another shot blocked followed a corner kick.
Less than a minute after WVU tied it up, LIU Brooklyn had several chances, but two shots were blocked and the Mountaineers forced one wide. Tekesky saved another before Takada had a shot that was blocked. Derwaritsch closed the half with a shot that was saved in the final seconds of the half.
In the opening 45 minutes, WVU had eight shots to LIU’s seven, while the home side earned four corner kicks and held the visitors to one. The second half saw LIU Brooklyn with a 7-6 edge in shots, and both teams had four corner kicks.
The Blackbirds had the first several chances of the second half, and Tekesky made two saves in the first 12 minutes. Muriel Albino then had two shots on goal, both saved, before the Mountaineers took their first lead.
It was Andres-Llop who set up WVU’s goal with a corner kick, as Quintanilla found the loose ball in the box from Shim at 71:30.
That gave West Virginia a 3-2 lead, and Tekesky followed with a save and the defense blocked a shot and prevented further chances on three corner kicks before Piatczyc added to the advantage.
At 80:26 from 21 yards out, the senior buried a free kick into the upper left corner of the net to make it a 4-2 contest and secure WVU’s place in the second round.