MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (March 17, 2021) – The West Virginia University men’s soccer team suffered its second-straight loss on Wednesday afternoon, falling by a score of 1-0 to Bowling Green, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown.
The Mountaineers (2-2-0, 1-2-0 MAC) allowed the Falcons (4-3-0, 2-1-0 MAC) to find the back of the net early, as BGSU’s 12th-minute header goal ended up being the difference in the match. Nathan Masters sent a free kick from the right of the box inside to Jacob Erlandson, who headed the ball into the corner of the goal and out of senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky’s reach. For the second consecutive match, West Virginia was unable to tally the come-from-behind score.
“We’ve had two games in a row now that have felt somewhat similar,” Mountaineer coach Dan Stratford said. “When you have a deficit that you have to overcome from the second half, it’s hard to come back from that, and unfortunately we found ourselves on the receiving end of that again today. We’ll go back and review it and go through our processes like we always do, but my initial impression right now, certainly after the final whistle, is that we deserved something more from that game.”
Bowling Green didn’t waste any time in the first half, tallying the game’s first shot on goal in the eighth minute, but Tekesky was able to wrangle it in. However, the Falcons turned around and found the back of the net in the 12th minute with Erlandson’s header. From there, it was very much a back-and-forth contest, with West Virginia once again struggling to find an equalizer.
The Mountaineers’ best opportunity of the first half came after a shot attempt from freshman midfielder Ryan Baer sailed wide and resulted in a corner kick. Baer took the corner, and placed the ball at the center of the scrum, where senior defender Kevin Morris headed a strong ball toward the post, but it was out left.
Out of the half, West Virginia tallied a pair of strong opportunities, but both were saved by Falcon keeper Logan Kowalczyk. First, junior midfielder Ike Swiger sent a shot along the ground in the 48th minute that almost scooted past Kowalczyk, but was tipped at the last second. Sophomore midfielder Luke McCormick then took a shot of his own just a minute later, but couldn’t get it into the goal.
West Virginia’s defense was able to fight off a fast and pressing BGSU attack in the second half, allowing only three Falcon shots in the final 45 minutes. The Mountaineers on the other hand notched eight of their own shots in the second half, with their final opportunity for a goal coming on an aggressive boot from redshirt sophomore defender Dyon Dromers that was blocked by the BGSU defense.
“I challenged the guys a little bit at halftime because I was a little bit disappointed with the level of competition from a defensive perspective,” Stratford continued. “I thought Bowling Green was better than us and outcompeted us in some moments in the first half that were pivotal. However, in terms of the overall course of play, I thought we had more of the ball and created just as many opportunities, if not more, especially in the second half. I was incredibly proud of the players’ efforts in the second half, and they did everything but score.”
Despite the defeat, the Mountaineers held a 10-7 advantage in shots, while the two teams tallied a matching trio of shots on goal. Tekesky notched a pair of saves in the contest, surrendering the game-winning goal in the 12th minute. The Mountaineers also earned five corner kick chances on Wednesday, while Bowling Green took only one.
With the win, Bowling Green increases its all-time edge over the Mountaineers to 8-5-2, while the Falcons even the series in Morgantown at 2-2-1.
Another weekend road trip awaits West Virginia next, as the squad travels to SIU Edwardsville on Sunday, March 21. The match is tabbed for 1 p.m. ET, at Korte Stadium in Edwardsville, Illinois.