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Mountaineers Return to Conference Play to Host to WMU

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (March 30, 2021) – The West Virginia University men’s soccer team (4-2-0, 2-2-0 MAC) returns to conference play for a mid-week matchup against Western Michigan on Wednesday, March 31, with a 4 p.m. ET kickoff inside Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown.

In accordance with COVID-19 protocols, Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium will operate at 25% capacity for the spring 2021 home season. For the overall safety of all those in attendance, facemasks will be required of all spectators and should be worn at all times.

An extremely limited amount of tickets remain on sale. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance by visiting WVUGAME.com or calling 1-800-WVU GAME to avoid lines at the gate on game day. When purchasing online, tickets are $5 each. Any remaining tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for youth and seniors at the stadium ticket window on match day.
 
A limited amount of WVU student tickets also will be made available at the Mountaineer Ticket Office, located at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The office, as well as the stadium gates, opens at 3 p.m., on game day. WVU students are admitted free with a valid WVU Student I.D.

For those unable to attend the contest in person, the game will be carried live on ESPN+, with Mark Schoenster and Matthew Drabble on the call. Fans also can listen live on 99.7 FM (WWVU), while live stats can be found at WVUsports.com.

“Hopefully the team has a very good, positive feeling heading into Western Michigan this week,” first-year head coach Dan Stratford said. “There was a lot of confidence to take from the Marshall game, along with the return fixture of Western Michigan. In the first match against them this year, we actually felt like it was probably our best performance of the season, but we were on the wrong side of the result. We’ll try to take the positives from that performance, but still remind the guys that there’s no guarantee that this will be the same type of game.”

Wednesday’s match marks the Mountaineers’ and Broncos’ second this season and 10th all-time, as WMU leads the series, 5-4-2. In the first meeting this year, Western Michigan tallied a 1-0 victory over WVU on March 14, as the Mountaineers surrendered their first goal of the year. With the win, Western Michigan claimed a one-game edge over West Virginia in the all-time series.

WVU is coming off a big win at home over in-state foe and then-No. 8 Marshall on March 24, topping the Thundering Herd, 1-0, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. Junior midfielder Ike Swiger scored the lone goal of the contest in the 66th minute after taking a well-placed ball form sophomore midfielder Luke McCormick. A Fairmont native, Swiger notched his first goal and game winner in a Mountaineer uniform, becoming the first West Virginia, native to score for WVU since 2011.

In the upset, Marshall outshot WVU, 12-4, but six saves from senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky solidified the win and clean sheet for West Virginia. The Mountaineers are now 4-0 when denying their opponent a goal, while the squad is 0-2 when allowing their opponent to score.

Senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky leads the Mid-American Conference in shutouts (4), shutouts per game (0.67), save percentage (0.905) and goals against average (0.33), while he is second in the conference in saves (19).

Western Michigan is led by head coach Chad Wiseman, who has put together a 133-69-25 overall record in eight seasons with the Broncos. A two-time MAC Coach of the Year, he led WMU to its first-ever MAC regular season championship in 2017.

The Broncos enter Wednesday’s contest with a 4-2 overall mark in 2021, as well as a 2-2 record in conference play. Western Michigan is coming off a pair of matches against Northern Illinois, following COVID-related schedule changes. In the first meeting with the Huskies in DeKalb, Illinois, on March 17, the Broncos fell, 3-2, before earning a 3-1 victory at home on March 28.

Dylan Sing leads the squad with three goals on the season, while he also is tied for the team lead in points (6) Daniel Nimick is tied with Sing for the lead in points and is tied with Brennan Creek to pace the team in assists (2).

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