MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU men’s soccer team scored four answered goals, led by two from freshman Jad Arslan, in a 4-1 rout of Oakland on Monday afternoon at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
Tied 1-1 entering the second half, the Mountaineers notched three goals in four minutes to improve to 2-0-0 this season.
“The first half they executed what they were trying to do pretty well and we got turned over a few times without making them pay for some of the attacks we had,” coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “In the second half we did a better job of controlling those moments and we were a little bit more clinical in the final third.”
Arslan scored his first career goal to tie the game at 1-1 in the 26th minute, holding off an Oakland defender and beating the goalie on a tight angle. Junior Haydon Bennett notched his first career assist by playing a pass to freshman Joey Piatczyc, who crossed the field to Arslan.
A rushed throw-in caught Oakland off guard in the 51st minute, allowing Bevin to score his first goal of the season, a game-winner. Freshman Louis Thomas took the throw-in in front of the Mountaineer bench and got it to Piatczyc, who crossed the ball to Bevin in the box. Bevin headed the ball from 10 yards out over the reach of the Oakland keeper.
Merriam knocked in his second goal of the season in the 54th minute after beating a defender and striking a shot past the sprawling keeper from the right side to the far post. Thomas and Bevin played a give-and-go, before Thomas passed to Merriam, who did the rest of the work.
The final goal came in the 55th minute when Bevin played a pass out wide to Thomas, who crossed the ball back into the center of the field and hit Arslan, who was able to lunge forward and toe poke the ball into the open net.
“We started to change the point of attack and we really got Louis Thomas and Alex Ochoa in the game along the flanks,” LeBlanc said. “Louis’ service from out wide was on point today. We got the runs that we talked about and our build-up play has been good so far.”
Thomas’ three-assist game marked just the 14th time in school history that a player has recorded three assists. Abdul Caulker completed the feat against St. Francis (Pa.) on Sept. 1, 2000.
Bevin and Piatczyc each had a pair of assists and Merriam led all players with five shots.
Twenty-four players saw action in the game as LeBlanc cleared the bench. Sophomore goalkeeper Brent Arnold was the only player to play all 90 minutes, making three saves for his second win in as many games.
The Grizzlies started the game at a fast pace with Arnold making a save on Raphael Reynolds just two minutes into the match.
Oakland then capitalized and grabbed a 1-0 lead on a free kick in the 15th minute following a foul by junior Ryan Cain. Gavin Hoy took the free kick from 25 yards out at the top of the box and sent a right-footed shot off the left post and into the back of the net.
The Mountaineers continue the home stand with a match against Virginia Tech on Thursday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. The game has been designated as the NSCAA College Soccer Game of the Week and will be broadcast on NSCAATV.com.
The game also will be a “Dollar Day,” with all tickets, hot dogs, popcorn and Coca-Colas available for $1 each. The first 100 Mountaineer Maniacs will receive a Maniac soccer scarf.