By Ira Green for MSNsportsNET.com
September 19, 2008
BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In its BIG EAST home opener, the West Virginia University men’s soccer team battled Villanova for 110 minutes and ended the game in a 0-0 draw in double overtime on Friday evening at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
||West Virginia's Gift Maworere battles for position during Friday night's Big East match against Villanova at Dick Dlesk Stadium.
All-Pro Photography/Dale Sparks photo
The Mountaineers (1-3-2, 0-0-1), who outshot their opponent for the second straight contest, had numerous opportunities to break the scoreless tie.
The extremely physical match saw 28 fouls called, the second-highest total this season, along with the referees handing out three yellow cards.
“Every BIG EAST game is exactly like this,” Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “It’s tough, there are battles, it’s physical, it’s get-after-it type soccer. It’s almost survival of the fittest because it is a demanding game. Our kids battled and hopefully it’s a building block from here going forward.”
Junior Mo Travis led all players with two shots on-goal. Just 9:55 into the second half, the Papillion, Neb., native had possession of the ball on the left wing and was one-on-one with a defender, but could not send the shot past Villanova goalkeeper Chris Bresnahan.
Travis’ second opportunity came at the 86:18 mark, but his blast did not make it past the keeper.
Moments later, freshman Ruben Garrido, who played 107 of the 110 minutes, struck a shot that sailed over the crossbar.
“We’re creating opportunities, which is good, but we’re just not putting the ball in the back of the net,” LeBlanc said. “We’re getting better every game, it’s just a matter of us finishing some of these opportunities.”
Sophomore Zach Johnson, who recorded four saves, made two game-changing saves that preserved the shutout and the game for the Mountaineers. Johnson played all 110 minutes between the posts and his efforts earned him his third shutout of the season, moving him into sole possession of fourth place on the WVU career shutouts list.
The Wildcats (3-2-1, 0-0-1) were led by Farris Fakhoury, who finished with three shots in the contest, including one on-goal. Bresnahan made three saves in the tie.
Freshman Alex Silva accounted for three of the Mountaineers’ four shots in the first half, while the defense limited the Wildcats to just two shots.
Junior Jason Bristol used his 6-foot-4 frame to his advantage throughout the opening half. The Franklin, Tenn., native gained position on a Silva direct kick, and barely missed a header that would have been the first score of the game.
The Mountaineers return to the pitch on Sunday, Sept. 21, to welcome their second conference opponent of the season, Rutgers. Kickoff at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium is scheduled for noon, and is the first game of a doubleheader with the WVU women’s squad.
Six Mountaineers (Zach Johnson, Jason Bristol, Gift Maworere, Ray Gaddis, Alex Silva and Ryan Gillespie) played all 110 minutes on Friday.
Senior Donald La Guerre played in his first game of 2008 after missing the previous five contests due to an injury.
After playing the entire match in goal, goalkeeper Zach Johnson moved into ninth place in career goalkeeper minutes, passing Bryan Givens with 2,699. Johnson is two minutes shy of passing George DeAlmeida, who has 2,700 minutes, and taking over eighth place in the WVU annals.
With Friday’s attendance of 921, the 2008 season total jumped to 3,869, the seventh-highest amount in program history. The highest season-attendance total came last year with 9,291 people passing through the gates at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The year 2006 saw 8,334 pile into the stadium.
In their three overtime matches, the Mountaineers have not allowed opponents to take one shot in the first overtime session.