The West Virginia University men’s soccer team closes the 2019 regular season by hosting Mid-American Conference foe Akron on Thursday, Nov. 6. Kickoff at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Thursday’s match is Senior Night, where the Mountaineers will recognize the contributions of their seven-man senior class, including defender Albert Andres-Llop, midfielder Pascal Derwaritsch, defender Sebastian Garcia-Herreros, midfielder/defender Ryan Kellogg, defender Logan Lucas, midfielder Andres Muriel Albino and forward Ethan Shim.
Additionally, Thursday night is the final Dollar Day of the season, as fans can purchase tickets and select concession items for just $1. The first 500 fans in attendance also will receive a WVU winter hat, courtesy of Coca-Cola.
Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance by visiting WVUGAME.com to avoid lines at the gate on game day. WVU students are admitted for free with a valid WVU Student I.D.
For fans unable to attend the contest, live stats, as well as a live stream of the match, will be available at WVUsports.com.
“Akron is a good team,” WVU coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “In many ways, our campaigns have been quite similar. Both teams have been really good, but both have been without multiple key players due to injuries and dropped some games that they probably feel they would’ve gotten at full strength. These are still two very talented teams capable of going on a run. This matchup is always a proper football match, and I’m sure that it will be an entertaining one.”
The Mountaineers (6-7-2, 0-3-1 MAC) and Zips (5-9-2, 3-0-1 MAC) will meet for the 22nd time on Thursday night. Akron leads the all-time series, 16-4-1, despite two Mountaineer wins in the last four matchups. The two schools have met seven times in MAC play, three times in the MAC Tournament and twice in the NCAA Tournament.
WVU and Akron met twice last season, with both squads earning a victory. First, the Mountaineers earned a dramatic, come-from-behind win over the Zips on Oct. 13, 2018, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Akron, Ohio. West Virginia won the match, 2-1, in overtime, thanks to a pair of late goals by Joey Piatczyc. Trailing, 1-0, Piatczyc tied the match in the 90th minute, before he scored the game-winner in the 93rd. The Mountaineers outshot Akron, 15-9, in the victory.
UA responded with a 3-1 win over WVU in the MAC Semifinals on Nov. 9, 2018, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The Mountaineers took the lead just 11 seconds into the contest when Muriel Albino found the back of the net, before the Zips went on to tally three unanswered goals. Akron held a 20-6 advantage in shots on the night.
The Mountaineers are coming off a 0-0 (2OT) draw at SIU Edwardsville on Nov. 2, at Ralph Korte Stadium in Edwardsville, Illinois. Junior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky earned his fourth shutout of the season and 12th of his career in the tie. The Raymore, Missouri, native made four saves.
Sophomore forward Josh DiMatteo led WVU with five shots against the Cougars, including two on goal. He was one of six Mountaineers to record multiple shots in the affair. WVU outshot SIUE, 17-10, including 5-4 in shots on goal. The Mountaineers also held a 9-3 advantage in corner kicks.
The result marked West Virginia’s first in-conference draw since Oct. 14, 2017, at Bowling Green.
Muriel Albino and freshman forward Rodrigo Robles Grajera continue to pace the Mountaineers with six goals on the season, good for No. 4 in the MAC. Andres-Llop and freshman midfielder Luke McCormick lead WVU in assists, with five, which is tied for No. 5 in the conference.
In goal, Tekesky is tied for No. 2 in the MAC in saves (48) and shutouts (4). He ranks No. 3 in the league in saves per game, at 3.2.
Akron is led by seventh-year coach Jared Embick, who holds a 99-39-15 mark with the Zips. UA is coming off a 3-2 win over Northern Illinois on Nov. 2, at home. Akron trailed, 2-0, in the 82nd minute, before scoring three straight goals in the victory, including the game-winner with just three seconds to play in regulation.
With the win, the Zips earned the No. 1 seed and right to host the 2019 MAC Tournament, which is set for Nov. 15-17.
Junior forward David Egbo leads Akron with seven goals and 17 total points on the year. Freshman forward Will Jackson has added 11 points (4G, 3A).
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Tor Saunders has logged 10 starts for the Zips between the posts, tallying 24 saves.
The Mountaineers are 10-8-3 in MAC home games since joining the league in 2012. This season, the squad is 5-1 when scoring multiple goals and 4-0 when scoring first.