The No. 3-ranked West Virginia men’s soccer team fought all night to net a goal against Akron but ultimately came up short in a 0-0 draw on Thursday evening in Morgantown.
The Mountaineers had plenty of opportunities to net a goal through the 110 minutes of total action the teams played and controlled the ball much of the night with many shots just missing or getting called off because of an offsides call.
“I’ll give them credit for being a good team but there’s also areas of the game that as I said we won the ball back in transition we didn’t connect the first pass early enough and often enough and that’s what led to that spell, mostly in the first half,” WVU HC Dan Stratford said.
Luke McCormick came out strong on the night footing a shot on goal nine minutes into the match which was followed up by Frederik Jorgensen and Ryan Crooks shots to close the first half offensive effort. McCormick’s boot was closest, having to be saved but Jorgensen and Crook’s missed wide right and left, respectively.
Akron was only able to muster up one shot during the first half from Diogo Pacheco which shows how well controlled West Virginia held the ball. The Zips were only able to send five shots toward goal the entire night plus two more in overtime.
Senior forward Ike Swiger then ripped a shot which just missed the crossbar for the remaining knotted score seven minutes into the second half. West Virginia then managed to get beyond the Akron defensive line for another four shots to close regulation and came up short on all of them as Zips goalkeeper Will Meyer made two key stops.
The shots to close out the regulation portion of the night came from McCormick, senior defender Elijah Borneo, senior defender Aaron Denk Gracia and freshman defender Frederik Jorgensen. Borneo and Denk Gracia’s shots were closest to being scored while both being saved by Meyer.
“It was an interesting game, we started well we had some great chances early that we obviously would have loved to convert, I don’t know how early the offside call was on Pau, sounds like it was incredibly close but then they posed some problems,” Stratford said.
The ten-minute overtime periods didn’t see much action at all as both teams only got off a pair of shots in the second overtime period. Redshirt sophomore Sergio Ors Navarro and Swiger notched the two overtime shots for West Virginia while Dyson Clapier and Wan Kuzri Wan Kamal took shots at the goal for Akron.
Meyer was very much the hero of the night for Akron holding off a hungry West Virginia team that is full of offensive playmakers and making five saves total. The five save game also came on a night when the Mountaineers had eight corner kick attempts including six in the second half alone.
Mountaineer goalkeeper Steven Tekesky also snatched his sixth clean sheet of the season and 26th of his career only having to make one save the entire overtime match. Although another draw for this West Virginia squad, Stratford explains that this will be a good game to review for future matchups.
“Those are the moments we have to execute better, we have to show more composure,” Stratford said. “We’ve got to make better decisions whether we’re going to transition to goal or we’re going to keep the ball so this will be a good one for us to review because we’ve played a very good team and we’ve in my opinion slightly underperformed and still deserve to win the game.”
West Virginia will now travel to Lehigh on Tuesday, October 5 for a matchup with the Mountain Hawks at 7 p.m. ET.