Mountaineers and Rutgers Tie

  • September 21, 2008 04:33 PM
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By Ira Green for MSNsportsNET.com
September 21, 2008


  Sophomore Zach Johnson posted his fourth shutout of the season on Sunday.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In its second BIG EAST match at home, the West Virginia University men’s soccer team finished a double-overtime contest with Rutgers knotted at 0-0 on Sunday afternoon at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

In a match that saw 1,413 people pass through the gates, the highest 2008 single-game home attendance total through five games, the Mountaineers made threat after threat on offense.

Sophomore Zach Johnson posted his fourth shutout of the season. The Lumberton, N.J., native, who now has 17 career shutouts, continues to climb in the record books as he is just one shutout short of tying Mark Bachteler, who has 18 career shutouts. Johnson also jumped past George DeAlmeida into eighth place in career goalkeeper minutes as he has spent a total of 2762:14 between the posts.

WVU, now 1-3-3 overall and 0-0-2 in league play, has held opponents scoreless for a time span of 314:05, which includes two double-overtime contests, and the one overtime match against Saint Francis (Pa.) that was ended early by junior Ryan Gillespie’s goal at the 94:05 mark.

"We're better again,” Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “Every time somebody talks to me postgame, we're better than the game we were before and that's a positive. Hats off to Rutgers for defending well, and hats off to our kids for pushing the game.”

With 18:46 left to go in the first half, WVU had a good-looking chance to score, but the opportunity was nixed after referees whistled an offsides call on the Mountaineers.

Just three minutes later, WVU freshman Alex Silva took a corner kick at the 15:26 mark. After a Scarlet Knight defender cleared it back to Silva, he crossed the ball to freshman Ruben Garrido who took a shot, but could not get it past Rutgers goalkeeper Amir Haghshenas.

“Our kids played hard,” LeBlanc added, “and certainly we're disappointed not to get a win, but from a coaching perspective, you're happy to see that a team as young as ours is continuing to get better."

In the second half, WVU continued to press the Rutgers (3-2-2, 0-1-1) defense.

With 38:25 left to go in regulation, junior Mo Travis sent a cross near the 18-yard box from the left wing to sophomore Paul Paradise, who just missed putting a foot on the ball and sending a shot toward the net.

Moments later, Paradise was back in front of Rutgers’ net on the right wing, and sent a blast just wide of the net.

At the 75:53 mark, Gillespie took the ball on WVU’s side of the field and sprinted with it up the left wing, but after dropping it to Travis, was whistled for offsides.

The Scarlet Knights were led offensively by Nye Winslow, who took two shots, each on-goal.

WVU will have four days off before traveling to Chicago to face DePaul on Friday, Sept. 26. Kickoff is slated for 5 p.m. EST.

Postgame Notes:

  • The crowd of 1,413 on Sunday was the largest crowd to see a men’s soccer contest in 2008.
  • Sunday’s contest marked the third double-overtime game the Mountaineers have played in this year.
  • In the last five meetings between WVU and Rutgers, the Mountaineers now hold a 3-0-2 advantage.
  • WVU won its first Sept. 21 match since 1991. All-time, the Mountaineers are 6-3-1 on this date.
  • Junior Gift Maworere started his 47th match in his three-year career, good enough to rank 15th all-time in the WVU record books for matches started.
  • Sophomore Dan Hagey played in his first match on Sunday since Aug. 31 against Duquesne after being out due to an illness.
  • Junior Mo Travis has taken at least one shot in each of the seven games this year.