MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 10 West Virginia University men’s soccer team opened the home season with a 2-1 victory over Binghamton on Friday evening in the WVU Nike Classic presented by Jersey’s Subs. The crowd of 1,850 was the fourth highest to ever witness a men’s soccer match at the Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
“I didn’t think we played that well,” coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “Imagine if we played a game like that and played well. After they scored we had them besieged and pinned in their own half for the rest of the game. At the end they started to lump things in the box, but never really got much out of it.”
The win also extended WVU’s home winning streak to 11 games, the nation’s longest streak.
Freshman forward Andy Bevin scored the game-tying and game-winning goals during the last 15 minutes of the first half and he has now scored the last three WVU goals this season.
“We had those chances last year too, we just didn’t scored them all, at least not in games we needed to,” LeBlanc said. “As the season went on we started scoring more and Andy is another part of the attack. He has a knack for scoring goals.”
Bevin struck first in the 31st minute after junior Eric Schoenle played the ball to a streaking junior Peabo Doue down the right side of the field. Doue continued to push forward and laced a cross right to the foot of Bevin who one-touched it right by Binghamton keeper Chris Hayen.
“The boys and the coaches said it was an amazing atmosphere,” Bevin said after playing his first career home game. “It was great seeing everyone in the gold and blue and we just we’re going out there to do them proud and do ourselves proud.”
Bevin then gave WVU the lead in the 41st minute after junior Uwem Etuk stripped a Binghamton attacker of the ball. Etuk sent a high, long ball to Bevin who beat his defender and then beat Hayen who came out to challenge the ball.
“Sometimes you have to ride your luck and that second goal he tackled the ball into me and hit my shin pad and rolled into the goal,” Bevin said.
WVU (2-1-0) took 14 shots compared to Binghamton’s (1-1-0) seven, while WVU also led in the corner kick category, 8-3.
Bevin led all players with six shots, including three on-goal. Doue recorded three shots, while junior Shadow Sebele finished with two. Tommy Moon and Adam Whitehead each had two shots for the Bearcats.
Binghamton opened the scoring in the ninth minute on a goal from Jake Keegan. The Mountaineer defense kicked the ball out of bounds, forcing a Binghamton corner by Whitehead. Whitehead hit an out-swinger that deflected off a WVU player and went to Keegan who shot a liner by junior keeper Pat Eavenson.
The teams finished the first half with a combined total of three shots on-goal, all being goals.
WVU had its best second-half opportunity in the 52nd minute when Sebele took a shot from the right side of the box that was stopped by Hayen. Bevin followed with a hard shot that ricocheted off a Binghamton defender and the left post to draw a corner.
Bevin had another opportunity in the 77th minute when Doue raced down the left side of the field, crossed up a defender and crossed the ball into the box just out of the reach of Bevin.
Bevin also becomes the first freshman to score the first home WVU goal since fellow New Zealander Jarrod Smith did it in 2003. Dan Stratford was the last WVU freshman to score in the WVU home opener, which occurred in 2004.
The Mountaineers will now face No. 25 Old Dominion in the final match of the tournament on Sunday, Sept. 4, at 5 p.m. Old Dominion was led by Yannick Smith who had a hat trick in a 6-0 shutout over Houston Baptist on Friday afternoon. Admission will be free to all fans courtesy of United Bank.