The No. 21- ranked West Virginia men’s soccer team fell to Georgia State, 0-1, in the MAC Semifinal in Dekalb, Illinois.
The Mountaineers (11-3-4) had an amazing opportunity in the first half when redshirt defender Bjarne Thiesen was left uncovered on the back post during the 11th minute. He was able to get a header attempt but it bounced off the post.
While the game raised in intensity, redshirt sophomore defender Sergio Ors Navarro was able to get a decent look on goal, unfortunately, his long-distance shot went too high.
Moving into the second half, fifth-year senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky was given a battle by GSU. Tekesky stayed on top of the shots and was able to save three major attempts. The first major shot came flying in during the 52nd minute before Tekesky had to make a diving save. The other two major shots came in very close together. The second came barreling in during the 60th minute, keeping the fifth-year goalie on his toes. The third shot came in during the 71st-minute and was able to be secured in the grips of Tekesky.
GSU didn’t lose hope throughout the second half, as they finally were able to see a goal opening during the last second half. During the 76th minute, GSU was able to put the ball in the back of the net, making the score 1-0 and taking the lead.
The Mountaineers attempted eight shots during the semi-game, but they all ended with each one hitting the goal post. GSU, who are seeded third in the MAC tournament, was able to take the lead over WVU.
“It felt like a little bit of synopsis of how the season has played out when things don’t go our way,” WVU head coach Dan Stratford said. “We failed to convert some very, very good chances in the first half and then late, and their goal was one we should’ve done better on. But the game can be cruel. My hope is that our guys are a little sick of not getting results that we deserve based on the quality of our performances.”
After the first goal of the night was scored the Mountaineers almost tied the game in the 82nd with great communication from freshman defender Frederik Jorgensen. He was able to get a foot on the ball but smacked the crossbar with his quick attempt. This ended up being the Mountaineer’s final major scoring opportunity of the evening.
Sophomore midfielder Ryan Crooks was able to lead the Mountaineers with three shots, including one on goal. Theisen was also to give off a pair of shots.
In the overall result, WVU fell to 2-1 all-time against the Panthers, including 1-1 this season. The competition moved to 3-7 in the MAC Championship since joining the league in 2012.
“We’ve got some strides to still make,” Stratford said. “I know this group is good enough. I’m not sure we’ve played a team yet that we can truly say they were better than us, so the guys just have to come back really strong next week and believe that we can still make a really deep run in the NCAA Tournament.”
In spite of the loss, Tekesky made his 80th career appearance for the WVU team on Thursday evening, which tied the program record for a goalkeeper, set by Zach Johnson in 2010.
The Mountaineers await their fate in the NCAA Tournament with the men’s soccer selection show on Monday at 1 p.m. ET.
Photo by Dale Sparks, All Pro Photography