WVU men’s soccer looks to earn first MAC win against Northern Illinois

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The West Virginia men’s soccer team is looking for redemption as they host Northern Illinois after dropping their opening conference matchup against Western Michigan.

This will be the ninth meeting between West Virginia (6-5-1, 0-1 MAC) and NIU (5-7-1, 0-1 MAC), in an all-time series which stands at an even 3-3-2. The last matchup between the two programs resulted in 4-3 overtime victory for the Mountaineers.

“We’re expecting another big challenge on Friday night with NIU,” WVU coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “They are a very good team, and we’ll need to be at our best if we want to earn a result on our field. We’re very much looking forward to another opportunity to play.”

West Virginia’s previous match saw the Mountaineers give up an early goal to Western Michigan, only for the Broncos to build on that lead with a pair of goals in the second half. WVU’s Robles Gojera would find the back of the net in the 84th minute but it wouldn’t be enough to overcome the 3-goal deficit, and the Mountaineers fell, 3-1.

WVU goalkeeper Steven Tekesky will likely be busy against NIU tonight, as the Huskies lead the MAC in shots per game with 14.23. The junior has struggled so far in the save department, stopping just 67.9 percent of his opponents’ shots.

Despite the low save percentage, Tekesky is second in the MAC in minutes played (1,106), saves (38) and shutouts (3).

The Mountaineers will look to make some ball movement offensively. West Virginia averages 2.08 assists per game, which is the second-leading mark in the MAC.

West Virginia will kick off against the Huskies tonight at 7 p.m. at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium, and will be streamed on WVUSports.com and the MountaineerTV Roku app.

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