Senior midfielder Uwem Etuk scored the game-winning goal and added an assist on ‘Senior Day,’ as the No. 21 West Virginia University men’s soccer team defeated Hartwick, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon in front of 887 fans at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium
“We were okay on the day, not great and not bad, but we certainly scored some good goals,” coach Marlon LeBlanc says. “At the end of the day it is three points and we’ll move forward.”
After assisting on an earlier goal, Etuk scored in the 27th minute on a left-footed shot that Hartwick keeper Tom Buckner got a piece off, but trickled past the goal line. Junior Allan Flott initiated the goal with a takeaway in the defensive zone and played the ball to freshman Nick Raskasky along the right side of the pitch. Raskasky maintained possession along the boundary, sending a pass ahead to Etuk, who charged forward at Buckner before ripping the shot.
“Senior Day is special for all of us as we got recognized,” Etuk says. “The most important thing for us was to make sure we left with a win and that’s what we did.”
WVU got off to a quick start, scoring its fastest goal of the season as freshman Majed Osman netted his second of the year only 1:29 into the match. Buckner had an unsuccessful clear from the left side of the box that Etuk headed into the center of the pitch to Osman, who slotted it under a diving Buckner.
A charging run by senior Peabo Doue in the 62nd minute set up the third WVU goal of the match as he sprinted the entire length of the field and received a pass from freshman Jamie Merriam into the left corner of the offensive zone. Doue centered the ball to senior Shadow Sebele, who put the ball past Buckner to the far post for his first goal of the season.
“I know when Peabo gets the ball out wide that he is going to go down the line and beat his man,” Sebele says. “I just tried to run to the box and get that second ball. I made the run and Peabo played a great ball that I could finish.”
Cleyon Brown scored for Hartwick in the 61st minute, his sixth goal of the season. Tyler Bailey sent a corner kick into the center of the field and the ball ping-ponged around the box to Brown, who put it past diving WVU senior keeper Pat Eavenson.
West Virginia (8-3-2, 3-0-1 MAC) finished with an 11-7 edge in shots, paced by shots from eight different players. Hartwick (4-6-2, 1-2-0 MAC) had seven different players take one shot. Each team registered five corner kicks.
“This was a good performance right before a big game at Akron,” Sebele says. “They’re going to be a really good team and for us to come out here and play well is good for our confidence going forward.”
West Virginia now hits the road for a tough test against No. 3 Akron on Saturday, Oct. 20, at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field. The match will begin at 7:30 p.m. Akron currently sits in first place in the MAC standings with a 4-0-0 mark and an overall record of 9-1-2.