By Ira Green for MSNsportsNET.com
October 3, 2008
||Freshman Alex Silva's goal is the first of his career.||
STORRS, Conn. – For the third straight year under West Virginia University men’s soccer Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc, the second consecutive time on the Fox Soccer Channel, the Mountaineers upset No. 7 Connecticut, 1-0, with a goal from freshman Alex Silva, at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium on a chilly Friday evening in front of 4,407 fans.
WVU (3-4-3, 2-1-2 BIG EAST) scored the lone goal of the game with 15:56 left to go in the first half.
The play started with sophomore goalkeeper Zach Johnson punting a long ball down the left side of the field to sophomore Paul Paradise. After two UConn defenders collapsed on the Plum, Pa., native, he laid a pass off to Silva, who was charging in from the top of the 18-yard box, and the blasted it to the right corner of the net for the score. Paradise was credited with an assist.
The Mountaineers’ defense was stellar, holding the Huskies’ (5-2-3, 3-2-0 BE) top two goal scorers, O’Brian White and Akeem Priestley, to just one shot in the victory.
“Defensively, we did really well tonight,” LeBlanc said. “The box score is misleading because a lot of the shots were taken from a distance and went over the crossbar. I think everyone did a great job limiting the danger.”
WVU’s Johnson stopped five shots and recorded his sixth shutout of the season, fourth in conference play. Coming into the game, the Lumberton, N.J., native was 14th in the nation with a 0.51 goals against average; he dropped his GAA to 0.47 following 90 minutes between the posts.
Johnson had a huge stop in the waning minutes of the first half. UConn’s White sent a cross from the left side to Mike Pezza, who was inside the 18-yard box. Pezza blasted a shot at the top shelf, but Johnson knocked it out of play to preserve the lead.
“Zach did a great job tonight,” LeBlanc said. “He managed the game well and he commanded the box really well. He was able to come off the back line and punch a lot of good shots away and he was certainly a difference-maker tonight.”
The crowd of 4,407 fans was the largest the Mountaineers have played in front of this season and the win serves as the first against a ranked opponent this season.
“We get up against Top 10 teams,” LeBlanc added. “We prepared all week for this game and to come back after the USF loss shows this team’s resiliency.
“We see these big crowds and we want to see that, especially when we get home.”
The Mountaineers will return home for conference play with match against Pitt at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium on Wednesday, Oct. 8. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.