GERMANTOWN, Md. - A diving header by junior defender Eric Schoenlewith 23 seconds remaining in the first half led the No. 17 West Virginia University men’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory over No.
11 Virginia on Friday evening at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md.
Junior Shadow Sebele placed a corner kick by the far post where Schoenle broke through a group of Virginia defenders and headed the ball past UVA keeper Spencer LaCivita for the game-winning goal.
"This was a good result tonight against one of the best teams in America," said West Virginia coach Marlon LeBlanc. "Now we move forward to take on another ACC team with the potential to win a national title this year."
West Virginia's match against Maryland, ranked fourth in the NSCAA preseason rankings after posting a 19-3-1 record last year, has been moved to Monday at 7 p.m. because of Hurricane Irene.
The WVU (1-0-0) defense highlighted the evening against the Cavaliers (0-1-0), allowing no shots on goal and a total of only three shots for the evening. The Mountaineers held the shot advantage at 11-3 and the corner kick total at 6-4.
Sebele led the Mountaineers with four shots, while a total of eight WVU players recorded at least one shot.
The previous best chance was by senior defender Uzi Tayou in the eighth minute when junior midfielder Travis Pittman hit a free kick just outside the 18 yard box. Tayou deflected the ball just wide right of the Virginia goalkeeper.
Senior forward Nick Claudio also had an excellent opportunity to pad the lead in the 88th minute when he had a breakaway shot that LaCivita was able to corral.
Virginia’s first chance came in the 66th minute off of Ari Dimas’ corner kick, Virginia’s first of the game. Eric Bird flew in past the WVU defenders and headed a ball that deflected off of the near post and was eventually cleared.
Junior goalkeeper Pat Eavenson played all 90 minutes in goal for his first career shutout as a Mountaineer. LaCivita made four saves in the losing effort.
Schoenle’s goal marked the first opening game goal since WVU beat Fairfield 1-0 in 2006 and marked the sixth career goal for Schoenle, all headers.
"I am usually running toward the near post and saw defender start to cheat so I went to the back post," Schonele explained. "Shadow played a great ball, I dove, and headed it in."
"For me, Eric Schoenle is the best center back in America," LeBlanc added. "He is big time, and he steps up and scores big goals."
The Mountaineers return to action on Monday when they travel to Maryland for a match with the Terrapins. The game will be video online at UMTerps.com.