MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU men’s soccer team shutout Virginia Tech, 3-0, in a physical match in front of 1,493 fans on Thursday evening at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
The win improves WVU’s record to 3-0, the best start to a season since the Mountaineers won their first three games in 2005.
“It’s funny how soccer is, we stunk and we were up 2-0,” coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “We went into the locker room at halftime and told the boys that the bad news is that we played as bad as we have all year, but the good news is that you’re up 2-0. In the second half we were excellent. We moved the ball, we didn’t really chase and they got tired.”
Senior Andy Bevin had his second straight, four-point game with one goal and two assists, while junior Jamie Merriam netted his third goal of the season and sophomore Mike Desiderio scored his first career goal.
An unconventional give-and-go gave Desiderio the eventual game-winner in the 26th minute as he attempted to cross the field on a pass to Bevin, but put it way out of reach. Bevin was able to gather the loose ball, sidestep a defender and send in a cross that Desiderio headed to the right of the goalkeeper.
Less than a minute later Merriam added an insurance goal, again assisted by Bevin. Bevin intercepted a Hokies pass in their own zone and again juked a defender, drawing the goalkeeper off the line. Bevin easily centered the ball to his left side for a wide-open Merriam, who tapped in a right-footed shot.
“We had two good goals,” LeBlanc said. “The first one came against the run of play, and then we always preach goals come in pairs and got the second one right away. Andy did magically on both opportunities.”
Bevin netted his second goal of the season in the 76th minute following a header won by junior Francio Henry. Bevin gained possession at midfield and beat a defender, ripping a shot from the top of the box to the left far post.
Sophomore goalkeeper Brent Arnold had his best game to date, making five saves en route to his second shutout of the season. Arnold has allowed just one goal in three games.
In the first match between the teams since 2004, the game featured a combined 33 fouls, seven yellow cards and two red cards.
The Mountaineers continue the home stand with a match against St. Francis (Pa.) on Sunday, Sept. 7, at 3 p.m.
The game is “Youth Soccer Day,” and all area soccer teams are invited to Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium to watch the Mountaineers and celebrate U.S. Youth Soccer Month. Kids 13 and under, who bring a completed Musket Coloring Sheet to the Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium gate, will receive one free youth admission and will be entered into a drawing to win a plush Musket toy. The coloring sheet can be found HERE.