MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University men’s soccer team will begin a five-game homestand with a match against Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
The Mountaineers and Wolverines will kick off at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday is a Dollar Day, with all tickets, hot dogs, popcorn and Coca-Colas available for $1 each. WVU students are admitted free with a valid WVU student ID. For a video and audio stream courtesy of Kroger, visit WVUsports.com
“Home field is only what you make of it. I’m a big believer in that if it’s going to be a home-field advantage, then you need to have the support of your fans and you have to play well,” coach Marlon LeBlanc says. “It’s good for us because we don’t have to go on the road and be on a bus or a plane. At the end of the day a field is a field, what makes it a home-field advantage is whether or not you have you crowd behind you.”
West Virginia (3-2-1) returns home after falling 1-0 at No. 6 St. John’s last Sunday evening. Despite the loss, WVU out-shot St. John’s 12-11 and held possession throughout the second half. Junior Andy Bevin
led all players with five shots, while sophomore Majed Osman
and senior Jay Williams
had two shots apiece.
“When you’re playing elite teams, one play can sometimes be the difference in the entire 90 minutes,” LeBlanc says. “We played pretty well at St. John’s; at the end of the day, one breakdown cost us. It is a fine line. The better the opponent, the finer the line.”
Bevin and Osman are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in points in the Mid-American Conference. Bevin currently sits at 11 points (4 goals, 3 assists), while Osman has nine points (3 goals, 3 assists). Sophomore Jamie Merriam
is tied for the team lead with three assists.
Junior goalkeeper Lee Johnston
has a 1.73 goals-against average and has made 18 saves in six starts.
Michigan (1-2-2) is coming off a 3-0 loss at No. 1 Notre Dame on Tuesday evening. James Murphy led the Wolverines with five shots, including four shots on goal against Notre Dame.
Chaka Daley is in his second season at the helm of Michigan. Daley previously served as Providence’s coach and is 7-4 all-time against West Virginia, including 4-2 on the road.
“Michigan is a well-coached team. Chaka Daley was at Providence and knows us very well; he knows this facility very well,” LeBlanc says. “Michigan is a program that is very difficult to break down and difficult to beat.”
TJ VanSlooten has scored three of the team’s seven goals to lead the team with six points. Murphy is second on the team with five points (2 goals, 1 assist), and TJ Roehn and Fabio Pereira have each scored one goal.
In goal, Michigan will start Adam Grinwis, who has a 1.47 goals-against average and has made 20 saves in five starts.
During this homestand the Mountaineers also will face Penn State (Sept. 25), Akron (Sept. 29), Northern Illinois (Oct. 5) and Stony Brook (Oct. 8).