By Ira Green for MSNsportsNET.com
September 26, 2008
CHICAGO – With goals from sophomore Paul Paradise and freshman Adam Mills and a strong performance from sophomore Zach Johnson in goal, the West Virginia University men’s soccer team earned a 2-0 win over DePaul at Wish Field on Friday evening. The win serves as the first for WVU in BIG EAST conference play.
Paradise, who tallied his second goal of the season, found the back of the net less than two minutes before halftime. Freshman Alex Silva, credited with an assist on the goal, got the ball back off a WVU corner kick and sent it to fellow freshman Declan Coll, also credited with an assist. Coll then served the ball to Paradise in the box, who headed the ball to the far post past DePaul’s goalkeeper.
Just four minutes into the second half, Mills scored the first goal of his career in the Old Gold and Blue. The play started with sophomore Dan Hagey dribbling the ball up the sideline, beating two guys on the play and sending the ball into the box. After senior Sean Brooks took a shot that was punched out by the keeper, Mills blasted the rebound into the back of the net for the second goal of the contest.
"I thought our guys did really well today,” Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “Our defense limited their team to shots from quite a distance. I think as long as we can keep opponents off the scoreboard, we'll have a chance to get the win.”
Defensively, WVU (2-3-3, 1-0-2) has been a stingy group. The Mountaineers have now held opponents scoreless for 465:50, a span dating back to Sept. 7 when WVU played Wisconsin-Green Bay in the University of Akron Classic. Also, the Mountaineers have held opponents scoreless in four consecutive contests. The feat has only been achieved three other times by the Mountaineers since 2000 (10/19-11/7/07, a span of six games; 9/12-9/15/07, a span of four games; and, 9/5-9/14/06, a span of four games).
WVU goalkeeper Johnson earned his fifth shutout of the season, the 18th of his career, which ties him for third place all-time in the WVU annals with Mark Bachteler for career shutouts.
Five Mountaineers, including Johnson, played the full 90 minutes, with two more playing more than 85 minutes in the win.
"We have done a good job of managing minutes,” LeBlanc said. “We kept using fresh legs to keep us going. I knew coming into the game that it was going to be tough on a hot, turf field. We were mindful of that heading into this week with this game and the one against USF.”
Willy Lara led DePaul (2-4-2, 1-2-0) with three shots in the loss. Goalkeeper Brian Visser made two saves while allowing both Mountaineer goals.
WVU improves to 4-0-0 all-time against DePaul and leads the series 8-0 in the goals department.
The Mountaineers will fly south to Tampa, Fla., to face USF on Sunday, Sept. 28. Kickoff at USF Soccer Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on Catch 47 in the Tampa area.