MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 22 West Virginia University men’s soccer team ended a 333 minute scoring drought as four players scored on Sunday afternoon to lead the team to a 4-2 victory over Oakland at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
“That team hadn’t given up a goal yet this year and we hit for four,” coach Marlon LeBlanc says. “We probably could’ve hit for six or seven today, but because we didn’t they were still in the game. We were due as it wasn’t for a lack of creating chances that we didn’t score the last few games.”
Senior Eric Schoenle, junior Craig Stephens, sophomore Andy Bevin and freshman Ryan Cain each scored their first goals of the season as the Mountaineers improved to 3-2-1, while Oakland fell to 3-1-0. The Mountaineers outshot the Golden Grizzlies, 16-11, while also holding the corner kick advantage at 7-3.
“That was a good result for us,” Schoenle says. “Anytime you can get a win at home in front of our fans is nice. At the same time we’re a little disappointed we gave up two goals and a penalty kick.”
Hard work down the left side of the pitch by senior Uwem Etuk initiated Andy Bevin’s goal in the fourth minute. The chance began with Etuk drawing a throw-in deep in the Oakland zone. Etuk threw the ball to senior Peabo Doue, who sent a cross to the far post that Bevin received right in front of the net and buried it into the top netting.
Oakland’s Raphael Reynolds tied the game in the 26th minute as he slotted a ball to the left of WVU senior keeper Pat Eavenson. Gavin Hoy got the assist after taking a free kick just outside the box that hit the crossbar and bounced to the feet of Reynolds, who knocked in the equalizer.
Schoenle regained the lead for WVU in the 32nd minute after heading a cross from Etuk over the Oakland keeper into the net. Freshman Zak Leedom started the play with a throw-in from the right side that Schoenle flicked wide left of the goal. The ball was cleared to Etuk, who sent in the cross to the far post right to the head of Schoenle, who slotted it by Oakland keeper Scott Messer.
Oakland almost tied the game with 20 seconds remaining in the first half as WVU freshman Nick Raskasky took down Oakland’s Kyle Bethel in the box, drawing a penalty kick. Miche’le Lupari attempted the penalty kick and Eavenson was able to stop it dead in its tracks to preserve the 2-1 lead going into the half.
WVU came out strong in the second half and Cain scored his first career goal in the 78th minute from the top of the box as he intercepted an Oakland pass and blasted it into the upper 90 corner of the net.
Stephens then added an insurance goal in the 84th minute as he sent a lofty right-footed shot from near the goal line that squeezed into the far post of the Oakland goal for his first career score.
Lipari cut the lead to 4-2 in the final minute of play for the Golden Grizzlies, taking a shot from the center of the box past Eavenson.
Bevin led all players with four shots, while Eavenson made a season-high six saves in the victory. Four different players took two shots for the Golden Grizzlies.
The Mountaineers continue the four-game homestand with a match against American on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. The game will serve as “Dollar Night” with all tickets, hot dogs, popcorn and Coca-Colas available for purchase for just one dollar each.