MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – After being honored on Senior Day prior to the match, senior Andy Bevin put on a show to lead West Virginia to a 3-0 victory over Buffalo on Saturday afternoon at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
Bevin scored three first-half goals for his first career hat trick. He increased his season total to 12 goals and he now has 30 career goals, ranking seventh all-time in program history. Additionally he is fifth all-time with 79 career points.
“I’m on record as saying there isn’t a better Mountaineer out there,” coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “For him to get three goals on Senior Day really does earmark one of the greatest Mountaineer campaigns in WVU soccer history. He is arguably the best advertisement this University has for being a student-athlete and what it means to be a student-athlete.”
With the victory West Virginia improves to 10-6-1 overall and 2-1-1 in Mid-American Conference action. The Mountaineers have won their last four matches.
“We talk about every game being a new game,” LeBlanc said. “As much as you like to look at things like records, you need to throw that stuff away, especially in conference games. That Buffalo team came in here on a good streak as of late and hadn’t conceded many goals.”
The Mountaineers opened the scoring in the ninth minute as Bevin received passes from freshman Joey Piatczyc and sophomore Mike Desiderio at the top of the 18-yard box and sent in a bending shot to the left of Buffalo goalkeeper Waleed Cassis.
Nifty passing in the box extended WVU’s lead to 2-0 in the 39th minute. After receiving a pass from junior Jamie Merriam, junior Zak Leedom sent in a back heel pass to Bevin, who broke through the Buffalo back line and beat Cassis to his right into the far netting.
Merriam played a pass to Bevin in the 43rd minute, completing the hat trick. It was a similar shot for Bevin, who again beat Cassis into the lower left corner of the goal.
Senior goalkeeper Lee Johnston made the save of the match in the 81st minute, diving to his left to punch out a shot by Abdulla Al-Kalisy and preserving his fourth shutout of the season. That was the only save of the match for Johnston.
While the Mountaineers have yet to clinch a spot in the Mid-American Conference Championship, they are still in the hunt to host the championship from Nov. 14-16.
West Virginia will play its regular season finale at Western Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 8. The match begins at 1 p.m. Fans can follow the action through social media by following @WVUMensSoccer on Twitter.