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West Virginia’s Historic Season Ends in Penalty Shootout

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 4, 2021) – The No. 11-seeded West Virginia University men’s soccer team earned a 1-1, double-overtime draw at No. 3 Georgetown in the NCAA Quarterfinals but fell, 4-1, in penalties on Saturday afternoon at Shaw Field.

The Mountaineers scored the game’s opening goal and led 1-0 at halftime. However, the Hoyas drew even with a penalty-kick goal in the second half before advancing to the Men’s College Cup in the shootout.

With the result, WVU’s historic season ends with a 12-3-6 overall mark.

“We left here with no regrets,” WVU coach Dan Stratford said. “We played a great game against a great team. (There were) marginal decisions. It’s a penalty shootout, so it could’ve gone either way, but we just played a team that has been (in the quarterfinals) for three years in a row, won it all in 2019, and is 12-0 at home. But between the two sides, I’d argue we came on stronger in the second half despite having the lead. So, I’m just so proud of our players’ effort and the courage they’ve shown all season.”

West Virginia opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a goal by senior forward Yoran Popovic. The Zuidlarden, Netherlands, native got on the end of a well-placed ball sent into the front of the goal to give the visitors a 1-0 advantage. It marked Popovic’s fifth goal of the campaign, and it was assisted by senior forward Ike Swiger and junior midfielder Luke McCormick.

Despite being outshot, 7-2, in the first half, the Mountaineers took the one-goal lead into the locker room for halftime.

In the second half, WVU had multiple opportunities to double its lead. First, sophomore midfielder Ryan Crooks fired a shot from distance just high in the 60th minute, before a fury around the goal saw McCormick, Crooks and redshirt sophomore defender Bjarne Thiesen all nearly find the back of the net two minutes later.

Still, the matched remained at 1-0.

Georgetown (18-2-1) got its equalizer in the 67th minute with a penalty-kick goal. That score line stood until the two teams reached 90 minutes, which led to overtime.

In the 97th minute, the Hoyas almost won it, but fifth-year senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky saved his club with a big save to extend the match. It was one of three saves for the Raymore, Missouri, native on the day.

Neither team found a breakthrough in the two, 10-minute overtime periods, leading to the shootout. All four of Georgetown’s shooters converted, while two WVU shots were saved away to clinch it for the hosts.

Georgetown held a 15-11 edge in shots, while WVU had six shots on goal, to the Hoyas’ four. GU led in corner kicks, 5-2.

West Virginia played in the quarterfinals for the first time since 1981 on Saturday. What’s more, the Mountaineers had never played in the round of 8 in the current NCAA Tournament format.

WVU also was seeded in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007, and it received its highest national seed since 2006. Additionally, the club’s three NCAA Tournament matches this fall were the most in single-season program history.

Press Release: WVU Athletic Department

Photo by Bryan Dougherty, Blue Gold Sports

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