Men's Soccer: WVU Falls to Rutgers
By Ira Green for MSNsportsNET.com
November 4, 2009
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Blue Division No. 3-seed West Virginia University men’s soccer team fell to Red Division No. 6-seed Rutgers, 2-0, on a cold, foggy Wednesday evening at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament.
“It was very difficult,” coach Marlon LeBlanc says of falling behind. “We made two major mistakes. It's not something you anticipate. I thought they were significantly stronger, more physical, knocked us off 50/50 challenges, and the chances that we did have, we didn't capitalize on. There were a couple of chances where the ball is bouncing around in the box and they were beating us to it. We put a couple wide and their goalkeeper made two big saves to keep the game scoreless. I thought giving up those two goals early on really changed the entire game.”
RU’s Ibrahim Kimara scored the match’s first goal in the sixth minute after dribbling around a WVU defender and slipping one past WVU goalkeeper Zach Johnson from the back line. The Scarlet Knights’ Dan Parr scored the second and final goal of the game in the 32nd minute. Teammate Robbie McLarney sent a cross into the box from 25-yards out and Parr connected on a header to the back post for the score.
WVU (7-5-6, 6-3-2 BIG EAST) outshot Rutgers, 18-12, for the game and also held a 9-5 advantage in corner kicks. The shot total was the second highest of the season for the Mountaineers.
Freshman Travis Pittman finished with a game-high five shots, two on-goal, and senior Gift Maworere recorded four shots in the loss.
One of Maworere’s shots came via a header with less than two minutes to go in the first half. Pittman sent the ball in from about 25-yards out, with Maworere inside the 18-yard box. The senior knocked a header toward the back post and was just wide notching WVU’s first score.
Maworere threatened again – this time in the 60th minute. The ball was sent into the 18-yard box, and after it was knocked around, Maworere put a foot on it and sent the ball just right of the back post.
One of WVU’s best scoring opportunities came from freshman Nathan Adams in the 80th minute. After receiving a pass near the top of the 18-yard box, Adams ripped a shot that appeared to be sailing just under the crossbar, but Rutgers’ goalkeeper Alex Morgans’ leaping effort was enough for him to punch the shot out of play and nix WVU’s scoring chance.
As the game progressed in the second half, visibility conditions became hampered by a thick and widespread fog.
“I don't know if anyone could see a whole lot except for the players on the field or around the ball. It was difficult,” LeBlanc said of the fog. “I couldn't see anything for about the last 35 minutes of the game from the sideline. The conditions were difficult for both teams. As the game wore on and we needed to chase it, the game became more difficult for us because they could sit back and defend. We needed to look for opportunities and create chances.”
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Zach Johnson finished the match with five saves.
With the win, the Scarlet Knights (9-9-0, 5-6-0 BE) move on to face Red Division No. 2-seed St. John’s in the second round of the league tournament on Saturday, Nov. 7, in Jamaica, N.Y.