MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (March 21, 2021) – The West Virginia University men’s soccer team used a pair of first-half goals and its third shutout of the season to earn a 2-0 victory over SIU Edwardsville, at Korte Stadium on Sunday afternoon in Edwardsville, Illinois.
After being shut out in their two previous contests, the Mountaineers (3-2-0, 2-2-0 MAC) scored a pair of goals against the Cougars (4-3-0, 1-3-0 MAC), marking their first multi-goal performance since the season-opening with at Charlotte. Redshirt freshman defender Sergio Ors Navarro’s first career goal got WVU on the board in the 15th minute. He took a cross from classmate Kyle Lehnert and tapped the ball off the right post and in for his first career game winner.
West Virginia’s second score came as the final seconds were ticking away in the first half, as a pair of Mountaineer defenders volleyed a header into the back of the net. Freshman defender Jesus De Vicente sent a high ball to redshirt freshman Bjarne Thiesen and headed it over to senior Kevin Morris, whose strong header found the goal in the 45th minute.
“We took a chance early and created a good opportunity to get on the board,” first-year head coach Dan Stratford said. “These opportunities weren’t too dissimilar from the ones we created in previous games, but the difference today was that we were more decisive in the final third. Over the course of the game, the result reflected the quality of our performance.”
With Sunday’s win, the Mountaineers snapped a two-game losing streak that began with a 1-0 defeat at Western Michigan on March 14. Navarro’s 15th-minute, game-winning goal was the first score for West Virginia since their conference-opening match at home against Bowling Green on March 6.
Senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky earned an early save in the fourth minute, as he deflected a SIU Edwardsville shot to the bottom left. The ball sailed over the end line, resulting in a SIUE corner. The Cougars then earned two more corners, but the Mountaineer defense was able to keep the ball away from the goal.
West Virginia’s first shot of the afternoon came in the 11th minute when redshirt sophomore defender Dyon Dromers sent a long ball straight into the goal, but it found the arms of SIUE keeper Lluis Martorell. A Cougar yellow card then gave WVU a good look from just outside the box, but sophomore midfielder Luke McCormick’s free kick bounced off the crossbar. However, WVU found the goal just minutes later, as Lehnert assisted Navarro’s 15th-minute goal to put the Mountaineers on the board.
The two teams played back and forth throughout much of the second half. SIUE tallied a trio of shots inside 10 minutes to play, but all three went in the Mountaineers’ favor and away from the goal. With the final seconds winding off the clock, Morris’ stellar header goal put WVU up 2-0 heading into the locker room.
Out of the half, the WVU attack didn’t let up, while the defense continued to deny any chance SIUE had at a goal. Junior forward Tony Pineda took an early shot in the 46th, which set the pace for Mountaineers in the final 45 minutes, as they tallied eight shots in the second half, five of which were on goal.
SIU Edwardsville’s best chance of the second half came on a strong header that went right for the goal, but was handled by Tekesky to save the clean sheet. Tekesky’s career shutout number now moves to 17, which ranks just behind No. 4 all-time in program history.
“There is a lot of defensive solidarity with the shape that we’re playing and the personnel we have back there,” Stratford continued. “I felt we limited them to very few chances again, and that’s obviously the collective effort of the team, but it would really be rude of me not to highlight the efforts of Tekesky and the back three.”
Sunday’s win marked the Mountaineers’ first win this season while also outshooting their opponent, tallying 13 shots to just nine from SIUE. West Virginia got nine shots on goal to go along with the pair of scores, while Tekesky recorded a trio of saves in the win.
The Mountaineers earned their fourth victory against the Cougars, as their all-time series advantage moved to 4-0-1, including a 3-0-1 lead in Morgantown.
West Virginia returns to Morgantown on Wednesday, March 24, for a break from conference play, as the Mountaineers host in-state rival No. 8 Marshall. The mid-week, nonconference contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET from Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown.
Press Release Courtesy of West Virginia University Athletics Communications