Men's Soccer: Etuk, Silva Lead WVU Past Cincinnati
By Ira Green for MSNsportsNET.com
September 20, 2009
CINCINNATI – Goals by freshman Uwem Etuk and sophomore Alex Silva gave the West Virginia University men’s soccer team a 2-0 victory over Cincinnati on an overcast Sunday afternoon at Gettler Stadium. Etuk’s score was the first of his career, while Silva tallied career goal number four – his second of the season.
The Mountaineers improved to 2-2-2 overall and 1-1-0 BIG EAST, while Cincinnati falls to 5-2-0 and 1-1-0, respectively.
"I don't think it was our best performance of the year, but it was our most productive,” coach Marlon LeBlanc says. “We fought and scraped and we didn't let a bigger Cincinnati team dictate the tempo of play. I thought the guys did a good job of capitalizing on opportunities, and at the end of the day, we got a good result."
Only 8:42 in the first half, freshman Travis Pittman laced the Mountaineers’ second corner kick of the match from the far side of the field into the box, right at senior Jason Bristol’s head. Despite Bristol’s header being blocked, freshman Moeryhan “Peabo” Doue ripped a shot toward the near post, but was deflected wide off a Bearcat defender.
Although it was a missed opportunity, WVU capitalized with less than 15 minutes remaining in the opening half. After getting the ball nearly 20 yards out from the Cincinnati net, Etuk worked around two defenders into the 18-yard box, where he found himself alone with goalkeeper Miguel Rosales. Etuk sent the shot just inside the left post, beating Rosales for the score and the 1-0 advantage.
Stellar defense by seniors Bristol and Ryan Gillespie, sophomores Raymon Gaddis and Ruben Garrido and freshman Eric Schonele and careful possession of the ball preserved the WVU lead as the Mountaineers took the 1-0 lead late into the contest.
The offense never stopped, though, as Silva added an insurance goal at the 79-minute mark. Silva, who was tracking a ball - headed into the box by freshman Abel "Shadow" Sebele - that rolled into the Bearcats’ 18-yard box, ran around Cincinnati defender Kit North, slid the ball away from Rosales’ reach and slipped the ball into the open net from the near side of the field for the score. Sebele was credited with his first career assist.
WVU nearly added a third score with 4:12 remaining in regulation. With an advantage in terms of numbers on the attack, Pittman laid a pass off to Etuk on the right side of the field. From the top of the 18-yard box, Etuk connected on a blast that sailed just over the top of Cincinnati’s net.
WVU goalkeeper Zach Johnson recorded his third shutout of the season after making five saves between the posts. One of his biggest saves came with 17:30 left in the second half. Branden Stelmak had his back toward the goal, and after turning a Mountaineer defender, he laced a shot that was caught by a sure-handed Johnson.
Freshman Matt Strauss saw his first time on the pitch in the Old Gold and Blue and Garrido earned his first starting nod of the 2009 campaign.
The Mountaineers return home following their four-game road stretch with a pair of league contests. WVU will play host to No. 11/6-ranked USF on Friday, Sept. 25, at 8 p.m. at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. Two days later, WVU returns to the pitch for a match against DePaul. The Sunday, Sept. 27, contest will start at 4 p.m.