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Strong Second Half Propels WVU over Elon

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (Oct. 23, 2021) – The No. 25-ranked West Virginia University men’s soccer team earned a 3-1 win over Elon on Saturday afternoon at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

The Mountaineers used three, second-half goals to help the squad reach the victory. WVU received a goal from redshirt sophomore defender Bjarne Thiesen, as well as penalty-kick tallies by sophomore forward Ciro Bourlot Jaeggi and fifth-year senior midfielder Pau Jimenez Albelda.

With the win, West Virginia improved to 6-0-2 at home this season.

“I was really proud of the players’ reaction at halftime,” WVU coach Dan Stratford said. “They responded with the right type of energy and got themselves back in the game today. Ultimately, we got what we deserved.”

Despite showing plenty of threat in the offensive third to begin the game, WVU (8-2-4) conceded in the 16th minute on an own goal to make it 1-0. The Mountaineers went on to outshoot the Phoenix (6-6-2), 5-0, in the first half, yet trailed as the two teams retreated to the locker room for halftime.

That’s when the hosts came alive. WVU leveled the score line in the 56th minute when Thiesen scored off a corner kick. Sophomore midfielder Ryan Crooks and senior forward Adam Burchell helped on the tally, which made it 1-1.

From there, West Virginia took the lead in the 75th minute with Bourlot Jaeggi’s penalty-kick goal. Less than 10 minutes later, the Mountaineers earned another opportunity at the penalty spot, which was cashed in by Jimenez Albelda at 84:01. 

WVU totaled 14 shots on the day, while Elon had just three. The Mountaineers also held an 8-1 edge in shots on goal, as well as 3-1 on corner kicks.

In all, four Mountaineers registered multiple shots in the win. Jimenez Albelda and junior midfielder Luke McCormick each had three, including two shots on goal. A total of 21 players saw the pitch for WVU on the day, including Burchell, who made his first career start at WVU.

With the win, WVU earned its first-ever win over Elon and moved to 1-2-2 in the all-time series. Saturday marked the first time the two squads had met since 2014.

Additionally, Saturday’s fixture concluded non-conference play for the Mountaineers this season. The club earned a 7-1-3 mark away from Mid-American Conference action this fall and have now won 16 of its last 21 non-conference matches at home, dating back to 2018.

“Our attention can now entirely turn to the conference,” Stratford said. “There’s a very real opportunity that three wins (to end the year) will be enough to win the regular season. But it’s more than that – can we win three games to win the conference, and can we win three games to continue to give ourselves an opportunity to be a top-16 seed in the national tournament, have a bye week and have a home game? I want us to realize our potential, and I want us to do ourselves justice this season.”

Along with the win, fifth-year senior defender Kevin Morris made his 85th career appearance for West Virginia against Elon, tying the program record for career matches played with Stratford and Mike Anioa.

Next up, WVU returns to MAC play on Thursday, Oct. 28, as the team takes on league newcomer Georgia State in Morgantown. Kickoff at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium is set for 3 p.m. ET.

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